Bird flu in Finland 2021
High pathogen 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 high pathogen 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 high pathogen H5N8 virus was also detected in a mute swan found dead in Helsinki. The same high pathogen H5N8 avian influenza was also 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 restricted zones established because of high pathogen bird flu 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).
Bird flu cases detected in Finland:
Date of detection
Location where the disease was found
|Avian influenza||Setting up a restricted zone|
|1||21.1.2021||Janakkala||Wild pheasant||High pathogen H5N8||22.1.2021|
|2||8.2.2021||Helsinki||Mute swan||High pathogen H5N8||-|
|3||10.2.2021||Janakkala||Feasant farm||High pathogen H5N8||10.2.2021|
Map of avian influenza cases detected in 2021. Cases of avian influenza in a location where domestic birds are kept are indicated in red.
Background map: The National Land Survey of Finland
Further information on cases of infection:
Monitoring avian influenza
An annual monitoring programme is in us for monitoring the bird flu situation in Finland. Every year a couple of hundred poultry farms and about 100-150 wild birds are examined every year for avian influenza. In addition, all suspected cases of bird flu are examined for possible infection.
In 2020 H5 antibodies were found in a sample taken at a poultry farm. No symptoms suggesting avian influenza were found in the birds at the farm and no bird flu viruses were found in the samples. Consequently, a case of the disease was not involved. The previous time that bird flu antibodies were found in a monitoring sample was in 2015. Further information on results from previous years’ follow-up is available in the Eläintaudit Suomessa (Animal diseases in Finland) publications.
Bird flu in Finland 2018
The first bird flu case of 2018 was found in March when a white-tailed eagle that was caught in good physical condition, was found to have the high pathogen H5N6 type avian influenza, which is linked with high mortality among birds.
Avian influenza in Finland 2016-2017
In Finland avian influenza was first diagnosed at the end of November 2016 when a high pathogen H5N8 type bird flu was found in tufted ducks found dead in the Åland Islands. Since then, high pathogen avian influenza was found in wild birds in other parts of Åland and in Southwest Finland. The high pathogen H5N8 type avian influenza was found in an aviary in Mariehamn. The high-pathogen version causes high mortality in most species of poultry.
When a case of high-pathogen avian influenza is confirmed, the Finnish Food Authority can set up an exclusion zone around the area where the disease appeared.