Elintarviketurvallisuusvirasto - Evira


Elintarviketurvallisuusvirasto Eviran toiminnan päämääränä on varmistaa elintarvikkeiden turvallisuus, edistää eläinten terveyttä ja hyvinvointia, huolehtia kasvin- ja eläintuotannon edellytyksistä sekä kasvinterveydestä. Eviran tieteellinen tutkimus on keskittynyt elintarviketurvallisuuteen sekä eläinten terveyteen ja hyvinvointiin. Tieteellinen tutkimus ja riskinarviointi luo perustaa valvonnan oikealle kohdentamiselle ja riskinhallinnalle.

Målet med Livsmedelssäkerhetsverket Eviras verksamhet är att säkerställa att livsmedlen är säkra, främja djurens hälsa och välfärd, och sörja för förutsättningarna för växt- och djurproduktion och växtsundhet. Eviras vetenskapliga forskning har koncentrerat sig på livsmedelssäkerheten och djurens hälsa och välfärd. Den vetenskapliga forskningen och riskvärderingen bildar grunden för en rätt inriktad tillsyn och riskhantering.

The role of Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira is to ensure food safety, promote the health and welfare of animals, to be responsible for the requirements for plant and animal production and for plant health. Evira’s scientific research is concentrated on food safety and animal health and welfare. Scientific research and risk assessment creates the foundation for the correct targeting of supervision and for risk management.


Recent Submissions

  • Nokireki, T.; Sironen, T.; Smure, T.; Karkamo, V.; Sihvonen, L.; Gadd, T. (2017)
    European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) was detected in Finland in a Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii) found in the municipality of Inkoo (60°02′45″N, 024°00′20″E). The bat showed neurological signs and was later found dead. The laboratory analysis revealed the presence of lyssavirus, and the virus was characterized as EBLV-2. This isolation of EBLV-2 was the second time that the virus has been detected in a Daubenton’s bat in Finland. This provides additional proof that EBLV-2 is endemic in the Finnish Daubenton’s bat population.
  • Nokkireki, T.; Jakava-Viljanen, M.; Virtala, A.-M.; Sihvonen, L. (2017)
    Background: Rabies is preventable by pre- and/or post-exposure prophylaxis consisting of series of rabies vaccinations and in some cases the use of immunoglobulins. The success of vaccination can be estimated either by measuring virus neutralising antibodies or by challenge experiment. Vaccines based on rabies virus offer cross-protection against other lyssaviruses closely related to rabies virus. The aim was to assess the success of rabies vaccination measured by the antibody response in dogs (n = 10,071) and cats (n = 722), as well as to investigate the factors influencing the response to vaccination when animals failed to reach a rabies antibody titre of ≥ 0.5 IU/ml. Another aim was to assess the level of protection afforded by a commercial veterinary rabies vaccine against intracerebral challenge in mice with European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) and classical rabies virus (RABV), and to compare this with the protection offered by a vaccine for humans. Results: A significantly higher proportion of dogs (10.7%, 95% confidence interval CI 10.1–11.3) than cats (3.5%; 95% CI 2.3–5.0) had a vaccination antibody titre of < 0.5 IU/ml. In dogs, vaccination with certain vaccines, vaccination over 6 months prior the time of antibody determination and vaccination of dogs with a size of > 60 cm or larger resulted in a higher risk of failing to reach an antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml. When challenged with EBLV-2 and RABV, 80 and 100% of mice vaccinated with the veterinary rabies vaccine survived, respectively. When mice were vaccinated with the human rabies vaccine and challenged with EBLV-2, 75–80% survived, depending on the booster. All vaccinated mice developed sufficient to high titres of virus-neutralising antibodies (VNA) against RABV 21–22 days post-vaccination, ranging from 0.5 to 128 IU/ml. However, there was significant difference between antibody titres after vaccinating once in comparison to vaccinating twice (P < 0.05). Conclusions: There was a significant difference between dogs and cats in their ability to reach a post vaccination antibody titre of ≥ 0.5 IU/ml. Mice vaccinated with RABV-based rabies vaccines were partly cross-protected against EBLV-2, but there was no clear correlation between VNA titres and cross-protection against EBLV-2. Measurement of the RABV VNA titre can only be seen as a partial tool to estimate the cross-protection against other lyssaviruses. Booster vaccination is recommended for dogs and cats if exposed to infected bats.
  • Jaakkonen, A.; Salmenlinna, S.; Rimhanen-Finne, R.; Lundström, H.; Heinikainen, S.; Hakkinen, M.; Hallanvuo, S. (2017)
    Shiga toxin-producing, sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157 (SF O157) has emerged as a cause of severe human illness. Despite frequent human findings, its transmission routes and reservoirs remain largely unknown. Foodborne transmission and reservoir in cattle have been suspected, but with limited supporting evidence. This study describes the outbreak of SF O157 that occurred in Finland in 2012. The outbreak originated from a recreational farm selling unpasteurized milk, as revealed by epidemiologic and microbiological investigations, and involved six hospitalized children and two asymptomatic adults with culture-confirmed infection. An identical strain of SF O157 was isolated from patients, cattle and the farm environment, and epidemiologic analysis suggested unpasteurized milk as the vehicle of transmission. This study reports the first milkborne outbreak of SF O157, provides supporting evidence of cattle as a reservoir and highlights the health risks related to the consumption of unpasteurized milk.
  • Kyyrö, J.; Sahlstrom, L.; Lyytikäinen, T. (2017)
    The NORA rapid risk assessment tool was developed for situations where there is a change in the disease status of easily transmissible animal diseases in neighbouring countries or in countries with significant interactions with Finland. The goal was to develop a tool that is quick to use and will provide consistent results to support risk management decisions. The model contains 63 questions that define the potential for entry and exposure by nine different pathways. The magnitude of the consequences is defined by 23 statements. The weight of different pathways is defined according to the properties of the assessed disease. The model was built as an Excel spreadsheet and is intended for use by animal health control administrators. As an outcome, the model gives the possible pathways of disease entry into the country, an overall approximation for the probability of entry and the subsequent exposure, an overall estimate for the consequences and a combined overall risk estimate (probability multiplied by magnitude of consequences). Model validity was assessed by expert panels. Outside Africa, African swine fever is currently established in Russia and Sardinia. In addition, there have been cases in both wild boar and domestic pigs in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia. Finland has frequent contacts with Russia and Estonia, especially through passengers. The risk of African swine fever (ASF) introduction into Finland was tested with NORA for the situation in December 2015, when ASF was endemic in many parts of Russia, Africa and Sardinia and was present in Baltic countries and in Poland. African swine fever was assessed to have a high probability of entry into Finland, with high consequences and therefore a high overall risk.
  • Holopainen, R.; Eriksson-Kallio, A.M.; Gadd, T. (2017)
    Archives of Virology 2017: Vol. 162, No. 11, pp. 3459 - 3471
    Abstract Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) has been isolated annually since 1987 from salmonids without clinical signs at coastal fish farms in Finland. In the inland area, viral isolations were rare until 2012, when IPNV was detected at several freshwater fish farms. Between 2013 and 2015, the infection spread and IPNV was continuously isolated from several farms, both inland and on the coast. The aim of this study was to genetically characterise the IPNV isolates collected from Finnish coastal and inland fish farms over the last 15 years, and to detect genetic changes that may have occurred in the virus populations during the study period. The partial VP2 gene sequence from 88 isolates was analysed. In addition, a complete genomic coding sequence was obtained from 11 isolates. Based on the genetic analyses, Finnish IPNV isolates belong to three genogroups: 2, 5 and 6. The genetic properties of the isolates appear to vary between inland farms producing juveniles and food fish farms in the coastal region: the inland farms harboured genogroup 2 isolates, whereas at coastal farms, all three genogroups were detected. Little genetic variation was observed within the Finnish genogroup 2 and 5 isolates, whereas among the genogroup 6 isolates, two subgroups were detected. All isolates studied demonstrated amino acid patterns in the viral VP2 gene previously associated with avirulence. However, increased mortality was detected at some of the farms, indicating that more research is needed to clarify the relationship between the pathogenicity and genetic properties of IPNV isolates from different genogroups.
  • Vennerström, P.; Välimäki, E.; Lyytikäinen, T.; Hautaniemi, M.; Vidgren, G.; Koski, P. (2017)
    The eradication of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV Id) from Finnish brackish-water rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss farms located in the restriction zone in the Province of Åland, Baltic Sea, failed several times in the 2000s. The official surveillance programme was often unable to find VHSV-positive populations, leading to the misbelief in the fish farming industry that virus eradication could be achieved. The ability of 3 other surveillance programmes to detect infected fish populations was compared with the official programme. One programme involved syndromic surveillance based on the observation of clinical disease signs by fish farmers, while 2 programmes comprised active surveillance similar to the official programme, but included increased sampling frequencies and 2 additional tests. The syndromic surveillance concentrated on sending in samples for analysis when any sign of a possible infectious disease at water temperatures below 15°C was noticed. This programme clearly outperformed active surveillance. A realtime reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction method proved to be at least as sensitive as virus isolation in cell culture in detecting acute VHSV infections. An ELISA method was used to test fish serum for antibodies against VHSV. The ELISA method may be a useful tool in VHSV eradication for screening populations during the follow-up period, before declaring an area free of infection.
  • Koski, P.; Anttila, P.; Kuusela, J. (2016)
    Killing of Gyrodactylus salaris By heat and chemical disinfection
  • Holopainen, R.; Subramaniam, K.; Steckler, N.K.; Claytor, S.C.; Ariel, E.; Waltzek, T.B. (2016)
    Genome Announcements 2016: Vol. 4, No. 6
  • Eriksson-Kallio, A.M.; Viljamaa-Dirks, S.; Vennerström, P.; Kuukka-Anttila, H.; Koski, P.; Holopainen, R.; Gadd, T. (2016)
    DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS 2016: Vol. 118, pp. 21 - 30
  • Biström, M.; Moisander-Jylhä, A.; Heinikainen, S.; Pelkola, K.; Raunio-Saarnisto, M. (2016)
    Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2016: Vol. 58, No. 1
  • Nokireki, T.; Nevalainen, M.; Sihvonen, L.; Gadd, T. (2016)
    Background Oral rabies vaccination of wildlife has effectively reduced the incidence of rabies in wildlife and has led to the elimination of rabies in large areas of Europe. The safety of oral rabies vaccines has been assessed in both target (red fox and raccoon dog) and several non-target species. Case presentation Since 2011, the competent authority in Finland has received a few reports of dogs experiencing adverse reactions that have been assumed to be caused by the consumption of baits containing oral rabies vaccine. The dogs usually exhibited gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, inappetence, constipation or diarrhoea) or behavioral symptoms (restlessness, listlessness and unwillingness to continue hunting). Conclusions Nevertheless, these adverse reactions are transient and non-life threatening. Even though the adverse reactions are unpleasant to individual dogs and their owners, the benefits of oral rabies vaccination clearly outweigh the risks.
  • Oksanen, A.; Siles-Lucas, M.; Karamon, J.; Possenti, A.; Conraths, F.J.; Romig, T.; Wysocki, P.; Mannocci, A.; Mipatrini, D.; La Torre, G.; Boufana, B.; Casulli, A. (2016)
    Background This study aimed to provide a systematic review on the geographical distribution of Echinococcus multilocularis in definitive and intermediate hosts in the European Union (EU) and adjacent countries (AC). The relative importance of the different host species in the life-cycle of this parasite was highlighted and gaps in our knowledge regarding these hosts were identified. Methods Six databases were searched for primary research studies published from 1900 to 2015. From a total of 2,805 identified scientific papers, 244 publications were used for meta-analyses. Results Studies in 21 countries reported the presence of E. multilocularis in red foxes, with the following pooled prevalence (PP): low (≤ 1 %; Denmark, Slovenia and Sweden); medium (> 1 % to < 10 %; Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and the Ukraine); and high (> 10 %; Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Liechtenstein and Switzerland). Studies from Finland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Norway reported the absence of E. multilocularis in red foxes. However, E. multilocularis was detected in Arctic foxes from the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard in Norway. Conclusions Raccoon dogs (PP 2.2 %), golden jackals (PP 4.7 %) and wolves (PP 1.4 %) showed a higher E. multilocularis PP than dogs (PP 0.3 %) and cats (PP 0.5 %). High E. multilocularis PP in raccoon dogs and golden jackals correlated with high PP in foxes. For intermediate hosts (IHs), muskrats (PP 4.2 %) and arvicolids (PP 6.0 %) showed similar E. multilocularis PP as sylvatic definitive hosts (DHs), excluding foxes. Nutrias (PP 1.0 %) and murids (PP 1.1 %) could play a role in the life-cycle of E. multilocularis in areas with medium to high PP in red foxes. In areas with low PP in foxes, no other DH was found infected with E. multilocularis. When fox E. multilocularis PP was >3 %, raccoon dogs and golden jackals could play a similar role as foxes. In areas with high E. multilocularis fox PP, the wolf emerged as a potentially important DH. Dogs and cats could be irrelevant in the life-cycle of the parasite in Europe, although dogs could be important for parasite introduction into non-endemic areas. Muskrats and arvicolids are important IHs. Swine, insectivores, murids and nutrias seem to play a minor or no role in the life-cycle of the parasite within the EU and ACs.
  • Viljamaa-Dirks, Satu (Evira, 2016)
    Evira Research Report 3/2016
    Crayfish plague is a severe disease of European crayfish species and has rendered the indigenous crayfish populations vulnerable, endangered or even extinct in the most of Europe. Crayfish plague is caused by an oomycete Aphanomyces astaci, a fungal-like water mould that lives its vegetative life in the cuticle of crayfish and infects other crayfish by producing zoospores. Zoospores swim around for a few days in search of crayfish, and when they find one they attach onto its surface, encyst and germinate to start a new growth cycle as new growing hyphae penetrate the crayfish tissues. Unrestricted growth of A. astaci leads to the death of the infected animal in just a few weeks. Crayfish plague induced mortalities started in Italy around 1860. Although the disease was known about since 1860 its cause remained unknown for several decades. Little was done to prevent the spread of the disease. A lively crayfish trade probably facilitated the spread of the crayfish plague, which reached Finland in 1893. The crayfish plague has remained the most important disease problem of the Finnish noble crayfish Astacus astacus, since then. The consensus was that the disease killed all infected animals in a short time, and it appeared almost impossible to restore the flourishing crayfish populations to the levels that existed before. Following the example of neighbouring Sweden, a North American crayfish species, the signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus that appeared resistant to crayfish plague was introduced to Finland in 1960s. As expected, the signal crayfish slowly started to replace the lost populations of the noble crayfish to become an important part of the crayfish fisheries. The introduction of the signal crayfish significantly added to the management problems of the noble crayfish stocks left. Signal crayfish appeared to be a chronic carrier of the crayfish plague agent, and spread the disease to the dwindling vulnerable noble crayfish populations. Later research showed that the crayfish plague agent is a parasite of North American crayfish that in normal circumstances does not harm the host animal. Intriguingly, the crayfish plague agent carried by the signal crayfish, genotype Ps1, is different from the pathogen originally introduced into Europe, genotype As. The diagnosis of crayfish plague especially when based on the isolation of the pathogen is challenging and accordingly the genotype difference was mostly unrecognized until recently. In this study we determined the genotype of the causative agent from most of the detected Finnish crayfish plague cases between 1996 - 2006. It appeared that most of the epidemics in the immediate vicinity of signal crayfish populations were caused by genotype Ps1, whereas genotype As was more prevalent in the noble crayfish areas. Interestingly, a difference was seen in the outcome of the infection. The Ps1 infection was always associated with acute mortalities, while As infections were also frequently found in existing but weak populations. The persistent nature of an As infection could be verified in noble crayfish from a small lake in southern Finland. This finding explained why many of the efforts to introduce a new noble crayfish population into a water body after a crayfish plague induced mortality were futile. The main conclusion from the field study data of this research was the difference in virulence between the Ps1 and As genotype strains. This was also verified in a challenge trial with noble crayfish. While the Ps1 strains did not show much variation in their growth behaviour or virulence, there was much more variation in the As strains. The As genotype arrived in Finland more than 100 years ago, and since that date it seems to have adapted to the novel host, the noble crayfish, to some extent. In order to gain insight into a possible vector of this genotype, we studied another North American crayfish species present in Europe, the spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus from a Czech pond. This crayfish species appeared to carry a novel genotype of A. astaci, named Orconectes genotype, designated “Or”. It seems possible that many of the North American crayfish species carry their own type of crayfish plague agent, with variable features such as virulence. These differences should be further tested in the future. The results of this study alleviate the necessity to study the noble crayfish mortalities for the verification of crayfish plague, including the study for the genotype of the A. astaci strain. Crayfish fisheries and conservation management decisions should not be made without a prior control of the donating population and the receiving water body for the eventual presence of a low-virulent A. astaci.
  • Hannunen, Salla; Marinova-Todorova, Mariela (Evira, 2016)
    Evira Research Reports 1/2016
    Dutch elm disease (DED) is a fungal disease that causes high mortality of elms. DED and its vector beetles are widely present in most of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere, but they are not known to be present in Finland. DED is a major risk to plant health in Finland. DED and its vectors are moderately likely to enter Finland by natural spread aided by hitchhiking, because they are present in areas close to Finland. Entry via other pathways is much less likely, mainly due to the low volume of trade of untreated wood and plants for planting. DED and its vectors could likely establish in the southern parts of the country, since they currently occur in similar climatic conditions in other countries. DED could cause massive environmental damage as natural elm groves are critically endangered habitats in Finland. The economic consequences to the owners of mature elms could also be significant. Eradication or containment of DED could be possible if strict measures were taken as the patchy distribution of elms would limit the spread of the disease. The most important source of uncertainty in this assessment is the lack of information regarding the amount of elm in fuel wood, wood waste and wood chips imported to Finland.
  • González, Manuel; Mikkelä, Antti; Tuominen, Pirkko; Ranta, Jukka; Hakkinen, Marjaana; Hänninen, Marja-Liisa; Llarena, Ann-Katrin (Evira, 2016)
    Evira’s Research Reports 2/2016
    Campylobacter spp. are among the most common causes of gastrointestinal diseases in EU countries. Between four and five thousand human campylobacteriosis cases are registered each year in Finland, of which the majority are most probably acquired from abroad. The prevalence and concentration of campylobacters in foods are influenced by the whole production chain. Based on retail samples, the average annual prevalence of Campylobacter spp. was estimated at 5.5–11.7% (95% CI) in Finnish chicken meat and 1.8–5.9% (95% CI) in turkey meat. No Campylobacter spp. were detected from either domestic beef or pork, and their prevalence was estimated to be 0.0–1.2% (95% CI). The mean concentration of Campylobacter spp. in contaminated poultry meat was estimated to be low, and the probability of illness per one serving was thus also relatively small. Even so, the assessment implies that thousands of human cases can occur due to meat consumption annually in Finland, with the biggest proportion related to chicken meat. However, the predicted number of cases is affected by many factors with uncertainty, such as the level of cross-contamination, size of serving and total consumption. For a general overview, other campylobacters sources should also be identified and their impact on campylobacteriosis quantified.