DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Temporary Order Designating Dangerous Transmissible Diseases
[50 Pa.B. 3013]
[Saturday, June 20, 2020]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) issues this temporary order designating Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), the neurologic form of Equine Rhinopneumonitis or Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), Brucella canis, Tilapia lake virus (TiLV), Streptococcus equi ssp. zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) in swine, and Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) as ''dangerous transmissible diseases.'' These designations are made under the authority of the Domestic Animal Law (3 Pa.C.S. §§ 2301—2389).
This temporary order is the successor to three previous temporary orders. One previous temporary order expired as of January 1, 2020 and was replaced by a temporary order published in the January 4, 2020 Pennsylvania Bulletin. Another temporary order was published in the January 11, 2020 Pennsylvania Bulletin. This temporary order will amend and replace the January 11, 2020 temporary order. The amendment adds an additional ''dangerous transmissible disease,'' Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD).
Under the Domestic Animal Law at, 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 the Domestic Animal Law at, 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. Under the authority of the Domestic Animal Law, set forth above, the Department hereby establishes the following diseases as ''Dangerous Transmissible Diseases.''
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.
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.
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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Tilapia lake virus (TiLV)
Tilapia lake virus (TiLV) is a serious viral pathogen of farmed and wild Tilapia which has caused large losses in farmed fish in other countries. This orthomyxo-like virus was detected in an aquaculture facility within the United States and spread to other fish farms before it was eradicated from the country. The entry of the virus was traced to the importation of infected fry (juvenile fish) from an endemic region.
Lesions associated with TiLV infection include discoloration, renal congestion, encephalitis, ocular degeneration and abdominal swelling. Mortality can range from 10 to 90%. Morbidity and mortality generally become apparent in farmed fish within 1 month of movement from the hatchery to grow-out cages—thus, the disease is commonly known as ''tilapia one-month mortality syndrome.''
6. Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) in swine
Streptococcus equi ssp. zooepidemicus (S. zooepide- micus) is an opportunistic bacteria that has recently caused major economic losses in the swine industry in China. Although S. zooepidemicus is most commonly known as the cause of severe respiratory or uterine infections in horses, it is able to infect many other species, including swine, cattle, rabbits, pigs, dogs, cats, and humans. In animals, symptoms can include fever, inflammation of lymph nodes, sepsis, mastitis, and bronchopneumonia.
In September 2019, a high mortality event occurred in a cull sow slaughter plant in the United States. More than 40% of the sows being held were condemned on antemortem inspection. Samples taken from the affected sows proved to be Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus. Similar events in other areas of the U.S. are being investigated to determine if this disease may have occurred at other locations.
To protect the swine industry in Pennsylvania, potential infections in swine should be investigated to determine how widespread this organism is in swine and to assist producers in reducing the risk of infection and spread of disease.
7. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD)
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a fatal disease in rabbits and is considered a foreign animal disease in the United States. RHD is caused by a calicivirus and there are several strains which cause disease. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV-2) has been detected in North America in recent years. RHDV-2 is highly contagious and affects both domestic and wild rabbits, including hares, jackrabbits and cottontails.
The virus causing RHD can be transmitted by direct contact with infected rabbits or indirectly through carcasses, food, water, and any contaminated materials, and it is very resistant to extreme temperatures. Infection may result in a peracute febrile disease which causes hepatic necrosis, enteritis, and lymphoid necrosis, followed by massive coagulopathy and hemorrhages in multiple organs. Rabbits often show few clinical signs and die within six to 24 hours after the onset of fever, and may have blood visible around the nose from the internal hemorrhaging. Morbidity rate is often 100%, and the mortality rate is often 60%—90%.
Isolated cases of RHD have appeared intermittently in the United States since 2000. In 2020, outbreaks of RHD have been reported in domestic rabbits, cottontail rabbits, and hares in the United States. RHDV-1 was identified in two domestic rabbits in a northwestern county in Pennsylvania in November, 2019.
A vaccine for RHD is not currently available in the United States and there is no specific treatment.
RHD has not been shown to affect people or other mammals.
The Department hereby designates CWD, VHS, EHV-1, Brucella canis, Tilapia lake virus, Streptococcus equi ssp. zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) in swine, and Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) as ''dangerous transmissible diseases'' under the Domestic Animal Law at, 3 Pa.C.S. § 2321(d). This order supplants any previous temporary order making such a designation.
This order shall take effect as of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and shall remain in effect until no later than January 1, 2021. This Department may: (1) reissue this temporary order to extend the designation beyond January 1, 2021, (2) allow this temporary order to expire on January 1, 2021, (3) supplant this temporary order with a formal regulation; or (4) modify this temporary order.
Questions regarding this temporary order may be directed to Kevin Brightbill, DVM, Director, Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 772-2852.
RUSSELL C. REDDING,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-786. Filed for public inspection June 19, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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