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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 03-1310



Temporary Order Designating Monkey Pox a Dangerous Transmissible Disease

[33 Pa.B. 3131]

   The Department of Agriculture (Department) issues a temporary order designating Monkey Pox a ''dangerous transmissible disease'' under the authority of 3 Pa.C.S. § 2322(d) (relating to neoplastic diseases, metabolic diseases and heritable diseases). This designation will facilitate the Department's efforts to detect and contain Monkey Pox and to assist the Department of Health and other public health agencies in monitoring and treatment efforts.

   Monkey Pox is a disease of public health significance. It also poses a threat to domestic animal health and to the economic well-being of domestic animal industries. Section 2322(c) of 3 Pa.C.S. requires the Department to proceed with the agreement of the Department of Health when it adds a disease of public health significance to the list of designated dangerous transmissible diseases. Both this Department and the Department of Health agree upon adding Monkey Pox to the list of dangerous transmissible diseases.

   Monkey Pox is a contagious viral infection that may spread from infected animals to humans. Human to human transmission is also possible. Although previously unknown in the western hemisphere, Monkey Pox has recently been discovered in the United States. The initial outbreak was associated with the importation in April 2003 of Gambian rats from Africa for the pet trade. As these mammals entered wholesale and retail pet marketing channels, the disease spread to a number of states and species--including human infections.

   Infected animals may exhibit a variety of signs ranging from no visible symptoms to fever, cough, blepharocon- junctivitis, lymphadenopathy, nodular rash or death. In humans, symptoms may include rash, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, headache, backache, fever, lymphadenopathy and even death.

   Humans and animals can acquire Monkey Pox through direct contact with an infected animal or person, through inhalation or contact with infected body fluids or through contaminated bedding materials. Veterinarians and their staff have been infected by Monkey Pox at a particularly high rate. Infected humans must undergo a 30-day quarantine period. This has a significant impact on both the human and animal health professions when caregivers become infected.

   The Department has authority under 3 Pa.C.S. §§ 2301--2389 (relating to the Domestic Animal Law) to regularly monitor the domestic animal population of this Commonwealth to determine the prevalence, incidence and location of transmissible diseases. The designation of Monkey Pox as a ''dangerous transmissible disease'' will facilitate the Department's surveillance of animals for the presence of Monkey Pox virus or disease.

   This order is a temporary order, as required under 3 Pa.C.S. § 2322(d). This order shall take effect on June 18, 2003, and shall remain in effect until no later than June 18, 2004. The Department may: (1) reissue this temporary order to extend the designation beyond June 18, 2004; (2) allow this temporary order to expire June 18, 2004; (3) supplant this temporary order with a formal regulation designating Monkey Pox a ''dangerous transmissible disease''; or (4) modify this temporary order.

   Questions regarding this temporary order should be directed to John Enck, DVM, Director, Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 783-6677.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 03-1310. Filed for public inspection July 3, 2003, 9:00 a.m.]

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