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Embargoed African Rodents and Monkeypox Virus

On June 11, 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a joint order prohibiting the importation of all African rodents into the United States. The joint order also banned within the United States any sale, offering for distribution, transport, or release into the environment, of prairie dogs and six specific genera of African rodents. The joint order was enacted as part of the public health response to the first reported outbreak of monkeypox in the United States. On November 4, 2003, the joint order was replaced by an interim final rule which maintains the bans on importation of African rodents and the sale, distribution, transport, and release into the environment as previously described.

Currently, a person may not import into the United States any rodent of African origin, including any rodents that were caught in Africa and then shipped directly to the United States or shipped to other countries before being imported to the United States. The prohibition also applies to rodents whose native habitat is in Africa, even if those rodents were born elsewhere. These animals may still be imported for scientific, exhibition, or educational purposes with a valid permit issued by CDC.

For additional information about the embargo, see the Restrictions on African Rodents and Prairie Dogs, Interim Final Rule and the Interim Questions and Answers on Interim Final Rule Prohibiting Importation of African Rodents.

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