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GLIN==> Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia; Interstate Movement and Import Restrictions

Tuesday Federal Register

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia; Interstate Movement and Import Restrictions on Certain Live Fish,
52173?52189 [E8?20852]  [PDF]

[Federal Register: September 9, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 175)]
[Rules and Regulations]             
[Page 52173-52189]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
9 CFR Parts 71, 83, and 93
[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0038]
RIN 0579-AC74

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia; Interstate Movement and Import
Restrictions on Certain Live Fish

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.
ACTION: Interim rule and request for comments.


SUMMARY: We are establishing regulations to restrict the interstate
movement and importation into the United States of live fish that are
susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a highly contagious
disease of certain fresh and saltwater fish. In 2005 and 2006, viral
hemorrhagic septicemia was detected in freshwater fish in several of
the Great Lakes and related tributaries. The disease has been
responsible for several large-scale die-offs of wild fish in the Great
Lakes region. This action is necessary to prevent further introductions
into, and dissemination within, the United States of viral hemorrhagic

DATES: Effective date: This interim rule is effective November 10, 2008.
    Comment dates: Comments on the interim rule are due on or before
November 10, 2008. Comments on the environmental assessment are due on
or before October 9, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
    ? Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to <A HREF="" href="http://www.regulations.gov/" eudora="autourl"> http://www.regulations.gov/
to submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials
available electronically.
    ? Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0038, Regulatory Analysis and
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to
Docket No. APHIS-2007-0038.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this
docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of
the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW.,
Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to
help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its
programs is available on the Internet at <A HREF="" href="http://www.aphis.usda.gov/" eudora="autourl"> http://www.aphis.usda.gov</A>.

Veterinary Medical Officer, National Center for Animal Health Programs,
VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 46, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301)
734-0695; or Dr. Peter L. Merrill, Senior Staff Veterinarian, National
Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-8364.


[[Page 52174]]


    Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) is a highly contagious disease
of certain fresh and saltwater fish, caused by a rhabdovirus. It is
listed as a notifiable disease by the World Organization for Animal
Health (OIE). The pathogen produces variable clinical signs in fish
including lethargy, skin darkening, exophthalmia, pale gills, a
distended abdomen, and external and internal hemorrhaging. The
development of the disease in infected fish can result in substantial
mortality. Other infected fish may not show any clinical signs or die,
but may be lifelong carriers and shed the virus.
    Four genotypes of VHS virus have been identified, and appear to be
distributed geographically. Genotypes I, II, and III are mainly found
in Europe or Asia and are highly pathogenic to rainbow trout. The
fourth genotype, referred to as North American type IV, has been found
in wild fish from the East and West coasts of North America
periodically since 1988. This genotype is less virulent to commercially
important fish stocks than the European/Asian VHS virus genotypes
because it results in less morbidity and mortality than those genotypes.
    In 2005 and 2006, VHS outbreaks were reported in wild fish from the
Great Lakes in both Canada and the United States. The mortality
associated with numerous individual outbreaks ranged from just a few
fish to many thousands per outbreak.
    The 2005 and 2006 VHS outbreaks were the first freshwater
isolations of VHS virus in the United States. The strain of VHS virus
isolated from all of these outbreaks, while similar to North American
type IV found in saltwater, has been shown to be genetically distinct
from other known strains of VHS virus, and is apparently capable of
causing substantial morbidity and mortality in many native species of
fish. It is currently believed that the saltwater-adapted type IV
strain mutated into a strain that is affecting new host fish species in
new environments in both Canada and the United States. The extent of
VHS viral distribution is not yet known;


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