July 2, 2003
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE
- CDC confirms monkeypox in rodents; issues
interim recommendations to curb further spread
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July 2, 2003
CDC CONFIRMS MONKEYPOX IN RODENTS; ISSUES INTERIM RECOMMENDATIONS TO CURB
On July 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a press
release titled "CDC Confirms Monkeypox in Rodents; Interim Recommendations
Aim to Curb Further Spread." The press release announces that CDC has
confirmed the presence of monkeypox in six rodents. It also announces that
CDC has issued interim guidelines that "attempt to balance the prudent use
of quarantine and euthanasia of exposed animals with the goal of preventing
additional infections among humans and other animals, as well as preventing
monkeypox from being maintained in a new wild animal reservoir." Links to
the interim guidelines are given toward the end of this article.
The press release is reprinted below in its entirety.
For Immediate Release
July 2, 2003
CDC Confirms Monkeypox in Rodents
Interim Recommendations Aim to Curb Further Spread
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the
presence of monkeypox virus in one Gambian giant rat, three dormice, and two
rope squirrels. The animals were part of a shipment of African rodents
imported to the United States on April 9, 2003. This shipment is believed to
be the source of the current U.S. outbreak of monkeypox. As a result, CDC
has issued guidance on the quarantine and euthanasia of all animals from the
shipment, as well as prairie dogs from the United States that were exposed
to the imported species or with other animals suspected to have monkeypox.
These recommendations aim to prevent further spread of the monkeypox virus
to humans and other animals.
"The goal is to protect people, pets, and wildlife in the United States, by
preventing the monkeypox virus from spreading or becoming established
permanently," said Dr. Martin Cetron, deputy director of the CDC's global
migration and quarantine programs.
CDC, along with other federal agencies and state and local and health
departments, is investigating 81 suspect and probable human cases of monkey
pox. Thirty-two of those cases have been confirmed by laboratory testing.
As part of the emergency response to the monkeypox outbreak, CDC previously
recommended that states place quarantines or hold orders on commercial or
residential premises housing infected animals that had either been shipped
from Ghana on April 9 or had been exposed to other animals with monkeypox.
The newly released guidelines call for euthanizing these animals. All other
animals on affected premises should be monitored for monkeypox and complete
a six-week quarantine period starting from the time that the African rodents
and the prairie dogs are destroyed.
While in quarantine, animals should be separated from people and either
locked in a room or put in a cage or other suitable container. During this
period, animals should be monitored for signs of illness including fever,
cough, discharge from the eyes (eyes may appear cloudy or crusty), swelling
in the limbs from enlarged lymph nodes, or a blister-like rash.
"These measures are essential in order to effectively address this public
health issue," Dr. Cetron said. "This truly collaborative effort requires
the support of public health officials, the pet industry, and pet owners to
successfully contain this outbreak."
CDC also strongly cautions pet owners not to release infected or ill prairie
dogs or any other animal that may be infected with monkeypox virus into the
wild and not to destroy the animals or dispose of them in landfills.
Instead, contact state health departments or departments of agriculture for
guidance on the disposition of animals, or to address concerns about the
health of exotic rodents or prairie dogs.
More information is available at the CDC web
To access the press release from the CDC website, go to:
On July 1, CDC issued "Interim Guidance to State and Local Governments for
the Removal of State- and Locally Imposed Quarantine Orders and the
Euthanasia of Animals Affected by the Monkeypox Outbreak."
To access an online copy of the interim guidelines, go to:
To access a camera-ready (PDF) copy of the interim guidelines, go to:
For more information about monkeypox, go to the CDC monkeypox web page at