Canine plague found in foxes in Tallinn area ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A fox (picture is illustrative).
A fox (picture is illustrative). Source: ERR

Cases of canine plague have been recently diagnosed in the Tallinn area, according to a report on ETV current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera.

According to the Estonian Wildlife Center (Eesti metsloomaühing), foxes are also carrying the disease.

An infected fox was spotted by a member of the public at Lake Harku, in the west of the city, and reported to the wildlife center, which captured the fox and took it away for testing.

"Normally if there was a sick wild animal in the area, we would have contacted a hunter to put it out of its misery, as often recommended by the Environmental Board (Keskonnamet)," said Katrin Idla of the wildlife center.

"However, common sense dictated that since we didn't know what was wrong with the fox, we should bring it to the center for tests," she went on.

Since the center is supported with voluntary donations and state grants, it was also able to raise funds quickly via a campaign to cover the costs of the tests and treatment.

"There have been a lot of cases of foxes diagnosed with spasms [arising from infection] lately," said vet Aljona Gogoleva.

"We have started to investigate whether to exclude or confirm [canine plague], and since dogs have been diagnosed with canine plague, we needed to find out if this had spread to wild animals or not," Gogoleva added.

The tests on the fox taken into capitivity found it had two diseases simultaneously – canine plague and toxoplasmosis; the latter is also found in domestic animals, particularly cats, the report said, and is spread either by contact with an infected animal or with its faeces or secretions.

"With these type of neurological symptoms, the first suspicion is that we are dealing with concussion, a hit from a car or something like that. Another possibility is poisoning. Now it turns out that we must consider viral diseases as well," Idla added.

Wild animals moving into population centers is a Europe-wide phenomenon, the report said, and there is no reason why it will not happen in Estonia too, the report said.

"We have recently received several calls about foxes surreptitiously moving into urban areas and endangering domestic animals," explained Shahrijar Abdullahev, Chief Inspector at Tallinn Municipal Police (Mupo).

Thanks to vaccination campaigns, Estonia has been rabies-free for 10 years, though a human fatality from the disease occurred recently in Latvia. The individual had reportedly been infected while on a trip to India.

Regularly pet vaccination is the best way to control new major diseases.

The original Aktuaalne kaamera segment is here, which some viewers may find distressing.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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