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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 03-2396



Temporary Order Designating Chronic Wasting Disease a Dangerous Transmissible Disease

[33 Pa.B. 6230]

   The Department of Agriculture (Department) designates Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) 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 CWD and will assist this Commonwealth's cervid industry in developing control programs for the disease.

   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 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.

   Recently, many states have instituted import regulations that require cervids entering those states be from herds that are participating in a surveillance program and that the state of origin have authority to take action in the event that CWD is diagnosed. To support our captive cervid industry and to keep these markets open, it will be necessary for the Department to assist in the development and oversight of a surveillance program and to take action in the event that a case of CWD is diagnosed. The authority to do so will depend on the designation of CWD as a ''dangerous transmissible'' disease.

   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 Department has authority under this act to declare a particular disease not contained in the original act to be a ''dangerous transmissible'' disease through issuance of a temporary order.

   This order is a temporary order, as required under 3 Pa.C.S. § 2322(d). It is a reissuance of earlier 1-year temporary orders published at 32 Pa.B. 316 (January 19, 2002) and 33 Pa.B. 204 (January 11, 2003). This order shall take effect January 4, 2004, and shall remain in effect until no later than January 4, 2005. The Department may: (1) reissue this temporary order to extend the designation beyond January 4, 2005; (2) allow this temporary order to expire on January 4, 2005; (3) supplant this temporary order with a formal regulation designating CWD a ''dangerous transmissible disease''; or (4) modify this temporary order.

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


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 03-2396. Filed for public inspection December 19, 2003, 9:00 a.m.]

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