Rabies-infected reindeer outside Ny-Ålesund
Rabies has been found in a sick female reindeer shot by the Governor on 16 July on the Brøggerhalvøya peninsula, 7-8 km outside of Ny-Ålesund.
The female and her calf were shot by the Governor on Monday 16 July, and samples were sent to the Norwegian Veterinary Institute in Oslo for testing. It has now been confirmed that the female reindeer was infected with rabies. The calf was not infected.
- We repeat that people should be on the alert and notify the Governor if they observe fox or reindeer with aberrant behaviour, or dead fox or reindeer, says Morten Wedege, Head of Environmental Protection at the Governor’s office. Typical signs to look out for are aggression in foxes and paralysis in reindeer. The Governor would appreciate photos or recordings of sick animals, or animals behaving as mentioned above.
- We strongly advise people to take precautions. Do not feed foxes. Dogs must be kept on a leash and not be left unsupervised.
- The Governor is monitoring the situation, including possible consequences for the upcoming reindeer hunt. We would also like to remind the public of the strong recommendation issued by the hospital in Longyearbyen that all who may come into physical contact with wild animals in Svalbard and who have not been vaccinated against rabies, should take the vaccine as soon as possible.
Hunters and others who may come into contact with wild animals and who have previously been vaccinated, should see a doctor if two or more years have passed since the basic vaccine to check if they are still protected. If the protective effect has weakened, they should take a booster vaccine before coming into contact with wild animals.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is the government agency responsible for animal health.