DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Interstate/International Quarantine Order; Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease
[50 Pa.B. 5272]
[Saturday, September 26, 2020]
A. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a fatal disease of domestic and wild rabbits of the family Leporidae, which includes hares, jackrabbits and cottontails. RHD is caused by a calicivirus and there are several strains of RHD virus which cause disease.
B. 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. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV-2) has been reported from several states.
C. RHDV-2 is highly contagious and affects both domestic and wild rabbits. An isolated case of RHDV-1 was identified in two domestic rabbits in a northwestern county in Pennsylvania in November 2018. RHDV-1 is not known to affect wild rabbits but is also highly contagious.
D. There is no licensed vaccine to protect rabbits against RHD in the United States, nor is there a known cure or treatment for this disease.
E. 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. RHD has not been shown to affect people or other mammals.
F. Infected 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 due to internal hemorrhaging. Morbidity rate is often 100%, and the mortality rate is often 60%—90%.
G. 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.
H. The Department issued a Temporary Order, through publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin [50 Pa.B., No. 25, 3013], on June 20, 2020, designating RHD as a dangerous transmissible disease.
I. RHD is also currently considered a foreign animal disease in the United States.
J. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (Department) has broad authority under the Domestic Animal Law (3 Pa.C.S. §§ 2301—2389) to regulate the keeping and handling of domestic animals to exclude, contain or eliminate dangerous transmissible diseases such as RHD.
K. The Department also has broad authority under the Domestic Animal Law to establish and enforce an Interstate and International quarantine against any place or places outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Commonwealth) to exclude, contain or eliminate dangerous transmissible diseases such as RHD. (3 Pa.C.S.A. § 2329(c)).
Order of Quarantine
With the foregoing recitals incorporated into this Order by reference, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture under authority of the Domestic Animal Law, at 3 Pa.C.S.A. § 2329(c) and § 1702 of the Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. § 442), hereby establishes an Interstate and International Order of Quarantine related to the dangerous transmissible disease Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease and the importation or shipment of rabbits into and through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Compliance and assurance of compliance with the provisions and terms of this Quarantine Order shall be the responsibility of all persons, individuals and entities subject to its terms. The terms of this Order are as follows:
1. Quarantine Area. This Interstate and International Order of Quarantine is applicable to all States, Commonwealths and territories of the United States of America and any foreign country in which the dangerous transmissible disease RHD exists or there is a reasonable suspicion it exists.
2. Applicable definitions.
''Accredited veterinarian''—A licensed veterinarian jointly accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department in the state the veterinarian is licensed to perform official duties on behalf of USDA or the Department in the state in which the veterinarian is licensed to practice veterinary medicine.
''Interstate Health Certificate'' or ''ICVI''—A legible official document issued by the chief livestock health official of the state of origin, or the USDA, prepared by an accredited veterinarian of the state of origin certifying the health of the animal described therein, and validated by the chief livestock health official of the state of origin.
''Rabbit''—For the purpose of this document, the term ''rabbit'' will include domestic and wild rabbits of the family Leporidae, which includes hares, jackrabbits and cottontails.
3. No rabbits or their products, such as, meat, pelts, hides, carcasses or other items, and no equipment, exposed feed or conveyances or other items or associated materials may enter the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from a Commonwealth, State, Territory, or Country where RHD has been diagnosed in the prior twelve (12) months or there is a reasonable suspicion it exists unless they meet the following requirements:
(a) All live rabbits must be accompanied by an ICVI and must be examined by an accredited veterinarian within the seventy-two (72) hours prior to the date of shipment to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The ICVI must include statements by an accredited veterinarian certifying that:
(i) All rabbits in the shipment have been examined for and found free of infectious, contagious or communicable diseases;
(ii) All rabbits have originated from a single premises that has no signs of infectious, contagious or communicable disease in rabbits;
(iii) There have been no movements of rabbits onto the premises of origin within the 90 days prior to the date of shipment; and
(iv) The rabbits have had no contact with wild or captive rabbits other than their cohorts in the 90 days prior to the date of shipment.
(b) No rabbits or their products, such as, meat, pelts, hides, carcasses or other items, and no equipment, exposed feed or conveyances or other items or associated materials may enter the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from a premises exposed to, contaminated with or known to be affected with RHD, or where there is a reasonable suspicion the disease exists or the rabbits have been exposed to or infected with RHD.
4. Violations/Penalties. Any person violating the requirements of this Order shall be subject to enforcement and penalties as are allowed under the provisions of the Domestic Animal Law (3 Pa.C.S.A. § 2301 et seq.), which include revocation of license, criminal prosecution, issuance of civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, injunctive relief or all or any combination of such penalties.
5. No Restriction on Further Action by the Department. This Order shall not be construed as limiting the Department's authority to establish additional quarantine or testing requirements or take any actions otherwise permitted under applicable statute or regulation.
6. Contact information. Questions regarding this Interstate/International Quarantine Order may be addressed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Health, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110; or by telephone at 717-772-2852; or by email at RAemail@example.com.
7. Effective Date. This Order is immediately effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and shall remain in effect unless rescinded or modified by subsequent order.
RUSSELL C. REDDING,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-1311. Filed for public inspection September 25, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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