Avian influenza in Finland in 2021
Highly pathogenic avian influenza was found in Finland in January 2021 after a few years’ break. Exceptionally high mortality was noticed among wild pheasants living near a pheasant farm in Janakkala, and dead birds were sent to the Finnish Food Authority for examination. Tests showed that the pheasants had carried the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza with a high mortality rate. In February, the virus was seen to have spread to the birds at the nearby pheasant farm, and the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus was also detected in a mute swan found dead in Helsinki. The same highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza has also been found in large numbers of birds in many European countries in the autumn of 2020 and early 2021 and cases have emerged in both wild birds and on poultry farms. Further information on restriction zones established because of highly pathogenic avian influenza and on orders issued by the authorities, and on cases detected in places where birds are kept, and cases detected in wild birds is available on our website (in Finnish).
Table of the HPAI cases detected in Finland in 2021
Date of detection
Location where the disease was found
|Avian influenza||Setting up a restriction zone||Revocation of the restriction zone|
|1||21.1.2021||Janakkala||Wild pheasant||High pathogen H5N8||22.1.2021||26.2.2021|
|2||8.2.2021||Helsinki||Mute swan||High pathogen H5N8||-|
|3||10.2.2021||Janakkala||Pheasant farm||High pathogen H5N8||10.2.2021||15.3.2021|
|4||18.2.2021||Helsinki||Northern goshawk||Highly pathogenic H5N8||-|
|5||25.2.2021||Helsinki||Northern goshawk||Highly pathogenic H5N8||-|
|6||10.3.2021||Helsinki||Mallard||Highly pathogenic H5N8||-|
|7||10.3.2021||Helsinki||Common gull||Highly pathogenic H5N8||-|
|8||16.3.2021||Kotka||Mute swan||Highly pathogenic H5||-|
|9||19.3.2021||Tuusula||Mute swan||Highly pathogenic H5||-|
|10||19.3.2021||Hanko||Mute swan||Highly pathogenic H5N8||-|
|11||23.3.2021||Helsinki||Mallard||Highly pathogenic H5N8||-|
|12||23.23.2021||Espoo||Mallard||Highly pathogenic H5||-|
|13||14.4.2021||Helsinki||Northern goshawk||Highly pathogenic H5N8||-|
|14||14.4.2021||Kuopio||Whooper swan||Highly pathogenic H5||-|
Map of the avian influenza cases detected in Finland in 2021. Cases in wild birds are marked red and a case in domestic birds is marked green.
Background map © National Land Survey of Finland 2021
Further information on cases of infection:
Surveillance of avian influenza
An annual avian influenza surveillance programme is carried out in Finland. Every year a couple of hundred poultry farms and about 100-150 wild birds are examined for avian influenza virus. In addition, all suspected cases of bird flu are examined for possible infection.
The results from previous years’ surveillance are available in the Animal diseases in Finland publications.
Avian influenza in Finland in 2018
The first avian influenza case of 2018 was found in March when a white-tailed eagle that was caught in good physical condition, was found to have the highly pathogenic H5N6 type avian influenza, which is linked with high mortality among birds.
Avian influenza in Finland in 2016-2017
In Finland highly pathogenic avian influenza was first diagnosed at the end of November 2016 when a highly pathogenic H5N8 type avian influenza was found in tufted ducks found dead in the Åland Islands. Since then, highly pathogenic avian influenza was found in wild birds in other parts of Åland and in Southwest Finland. The highly pathogenic H5N8 type avian influenza was found in an aviary in Mariehamn. The highly-pathogenic version causes high mortality in most species of poultry.
When a case of highly-pathogenic avian influenza is confirmed, the Finnish Food Authority can set up a restriction zone around the area where the disease appeared.