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Temporary Order Designating Dangerous Transmissible Diseases

[46 Pa.B. 7001]
[Saturday, November 5, 2016]

 The Department of Agriculture (Department) issues a temporary order designating Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC), Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), the neurologic form of Equine Rhinopneumonitis or Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), and Brucella canis as ''dangerous transmissible diseases.'' These designations are made under the authority of 3 Pa.C.S. §§ 2301—2389 (relating to Domestic Animal Law).

 This temporary order is the successor to a previous temporary order. The previous temporary order will expire as of January 1, 2017 and will be replaced by this temporary order.

 Under 3 Pa.C.S. § 2327(a) (relating to disease surveillance and detection), the Department has authority to monitor the domestic animal population of this Commonwealth to determine the prevalence, incidence and location of transmissible diseases of animals. Under 3 Pa.C.S. § 2321(d) (relating to dangerous transmissible diseases), the Department has authority to declare a disease that has not been specifically identified in that statute as a ''dangerous transmissible disease'' to be a dangerous transmissible disease through issuance of a temporary order making that designation.

1. CWD

 CWD is a disease of whitetail deer, elk and other cervids and is a member of the group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other more well-known TSEs are scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or ''mad cow'' disease. All are thought to be caused by a protein that has converted to an abnormal infectious form known as a ''prion.'' There is some evidence, in the case of BSE, that humans may become infected through consumption of meat products containing central nervous system tissues, thus there is a significant public health interest concerning all TSEs.

 A number of states have, in recent years, instituted import regulations requiring that cervids entering those states: (1) originate from herds that are participating in a surveillance program; and (2) originate from states that have authority to take action in the event that CWD is diagnosed. CWD has been identified in both captive and wild deer in this Commonwealth. The designation of CWD as a ''dangerous transmissible disease'' allowed the Department to facilitate the development and oversight of a surveillance program and quarantine orders that allowed for detection, tracing and containment of the CWD outbreak and allowed the Department to react and take action necessary to carry out its statutory duty under the Domestic Animal Law.

2. SVC

 SVC is caused by a ribonucleic acid virus known as Rhabdovirus carpio and is considered an emerging disease in the United States. SVC poses a threat to both domestic fish health and wild fish health in this Commonwealth and has the potential to create a significant adverse economic impact on this Commonwealth's aquaculture industry.

 The SVC virus readily infects species of the Cyprinidae family (carp and minnows) and spreads through direct contact with infected fish and through shared infected water sources. Symptoms typically appear in the spring time as water temperatures increase. Symptoms in infected fish range from undetectable through mild disease to sudden massive die-off.

 There is no specific treatment for fish infected with SVC and no vaccine to prevent the disease. Once natural water resources become infected, SVC may be impossible to eradicate and may pose a permanent threat to aquaculture facilities utilizing those water sources.

3. VHS

 VHS virus is a serious pathogen of fresh and saltwater fish that is causing a disease in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada. VHS virus is a rhabdovirus (rod shaped virus) that affects fish of all size and age ranges. It does not pose any threat to human health. VHS can cause hemorrhaging of fish tissue, including internal organs, and can cause the death of infected fish. Once a fish is infected with VHS, there is no known cure. Not all infected fish develop the disease, but they can carry and spread the disease to other fish. The World Organization of Animal Health has categorized VHS as a transmissible disease with the potential for profound socio-economic consequences.

4. Neurologic Form of EHV-1

 EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus that is ubiquitous in horse populations worldwide. The age, seasonal and geographic distributions vary and are likely determined by immune status and concentration of horses. Infection with EHV-1 most commonly causes respiratory illness, characterized by fever, rhinopharyngitis and tracheo-bronchitis. Infection may also cause abortions in pregnant mares, following clinical or subclinical infection, and can be fatal to newborn foals. A further, infrequent clinical resultant effect of EHV-1 infection is the development of neurologic disease. Depending upon the location and extent of the lesions, signs of neurologic disease may vary from mild in coordination and posterior paresis to severe posterior paralysis with recumbency, loss of bladder and tail function, and loss of sensation to the skin in the perineal and inguinal areas, and even the hindlimbs. In exceptional cases, the paralysis may be progressive and culminate in quadriplegia and death.

 Transmission of EHV-1 occurs by direct or indirect contact with infective nasal discharges, aborted fetuses, placentas or placental fluids. Transmission can occur by means of coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet, as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.

 There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. Sound management practices, including isolation, are important to reduce the risk of infection with EHV-1. Maintaining appropriate vaccination protocols may also be prudent in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may reduce the incidence of the neurologic form.

5. Canine Brucellosis (Brucella canis)

 Canine brucellosis is an infectious disease of dogs caused by the Brucella canis (B. canis) bacteria. B. canis infection in breeding dogs is an important cause of reproductive failure, particularly in kennels. B. canis infection can result in abortions, stillbirths, epididymitis, orchitis and sperm abnormalities in breeding dogs. Infected dogs that have been spayed or neutered may develop other conditions such as ocular disease and discospondylitis.

 Transmission of B. canis occurs through exposure to secretions during estrus or mating or by contact with infected tissues during birth or following abortion. In addition, infected dogs may spread the bacteria in blood, milk, urine, saliva, nasal and ocular secretions, and feces. Puppies can become infected in utero, during birth, through nursing, and by contact with contaminated surfaces. The bacteria can also be transmitted by fomites.

B. canis is considered to be a zoonotic organism, although its importance as a cause of human illness is still unknown. People in very close contact with infected dogs are thought to be more at risk of infection, including those who work in a breeding kennel, and veterinarians. Laboratory personnel handling the organism are also considered to have a higher risk of infection. The symptoms of this disease in humans are nonspecific and cases may not be reported. The 2012 National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) document ''Public Health Implications of B. canis Infections in Humans'' reports that there are documented cases of infection with B. canis leading to serious health problem. Those with compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of serious illness. Treatment with antibiotics may be effective.

 Although infection in dogs can be treated with antibiotics, B. canis can persist in an animal even after treatment. Prevention is key, and all dogs entering a breeding kennel or used for breeding should first be test-negative or come from a brucella-negative source. Ongoing and regular testing is recommended, even in closed breeding facilities, and this is an essential component of recognition and prevention. Proper biosecurity and sanitation of breeding facilities is also recommended to prevent disease transmission. Infected puppies or dogs should not be purchased or adopted.

Order

 The Department hereby designates CWD, SVC, VHS, EHV-1, and Brucella canis ''dangerous transmissible diseases'' under 3 Pa.C.S. § 2321(d). This order supplants any previous temporary order making a designation.

 This order shall take effect as of January 1, 2017 and shall remain in effect until no later than January 1, 2018. This Department may: (1) reissue this temporary order to extend the designation beyond January 1, 2018, (2) allow this temporary order to expire on January 1, 2018, (3) supplant this temporary order with a formal regulation; or (4) modify this temporary order.

 Questions regarding this temporary order may be directed to David Wolfgang, VMD, Director, Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 772-2852.

RUSSELL C. REDDING, 
Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-1903. Filed for public inspection November 4, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]



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