Chapter 6Conveyance & Transportation Issues
Taking Animals & Animal Products across International Borders
CDC restricts the importation of animals and products, such as trophies and vectors, that may pose an infectious disease threat to humans. These restrictions apply to some pets, such as dogs and cats, as well as turtles, nonhuman primates, African rodents, civets, bats, and animal products capable of causing human disease (see www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/index.html). Animals taken out of the United States are subject, upon return, to the same regulations as those entering for the first time.
In addition to CDC, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have jurisdiction over the importation of some animals. States may also have additional restrictions on the importation of animals.
ANIMAL HEALTH CERTIFICATES
CDC regulations do not require general health certificates for animals (including dogs or cats) entering the United States. However, health certificates may be required for entry of animals into some states and may be required by airlines in order to transport animals. Before departure, travelers should check with the public health veterinarian in their destination state, and with the airline, for any certificate requirements.
Dogs are subject to inspection and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans or if they have not been vaccinated against rabies. If a dog appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian, at the owner’s expense, may be required before it is released for official entry into the United States.
Rabies vaccination is required for all dogs entering the United States from a country where rabies is present. Unless a dog is being imported from a country considered “rabies-free” by the World Health Organization (Table 3-13), it must be accompanied by a current, valid rabies vaccination certificate that includes the following information:
- The breed, sex, age, color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
- Date of rabies vaccination
- Signature of a licensed veterinarian
- Date of expiration of vaccination
- Rabies certificates have expiration dates that range from 1 to 3 years from the date of vaccination, depending on the type of vaccine given
Dogs must be at least 3 months old before getting a rabies vaccine for the first time. Since it takes 30 days for the vaccine to take effect, dogs must have had their first rabies vaccination ≥30 days prior to arrival.
- If dogs arrive in the United States unvaccinated, CDC requires that they receive a rabies vaccine within 4–10 days of arrival and that they be confined for the 30-day period until the vaccination takes effect.
- If dogs arrive that have received their first rabies vaccine <30 days prior to arrival, CDC requires that the dogs be confined for the remainder of the 30-day period.
- Older dogs that have had prior rabies vaccination may be given a rabies vaccine up to the day of travel.
Dogs that do not meet CDC’s rabies vaccination requirement may enter the United States only if the importer or owner completes a legal document called a confinement agreement. A copy of the confinement agreement (CDC Form 75.37) can be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/dogs.html. By signing a confinement agreement, the importer or owner promises to confine the animal until it is fully vaccinated against rabies. Confinement agreements must be completed for:
- Dogs not accompanied by a current, valid rabies certificate.
- Dogs younger than 4 months of age.
- Dogs that received their first rabies vaccination <30 days prior to arrival in the United States.
Confinement is defined as isolation away from people and other animals, except for contact necessary for the dog’s care. Conditions of the confinement agreement are as follows:
- The dog must be kept confined at a place of the owner’s choosing, including the owner’s home, until a rabies vaccination has been obtained and/or until 30 days have passed since vaccination.
- If the dog is allowed out of its enclosure, the owner must muzzle the dog and use a leash.
- The dog may not be sold or transferred from the responsibility of the importer during the confinement period.
Routine rabies vaccination of dogs is recommended in the United States and required by most state and local health authorities. Check with state authorities at the final destination to determine any state requirements for rabies vaccination. State-specific information is found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/animal_import/animal_imports_states.shtml. All pet dogs arriving in the state of Hawaii and the territory of Guam, even from the US mainland, are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements. For more information about Hawaii, consult http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/info or call 808-483-7151. For more information about Guam, see www.guamcourts.org/CompilerofLaws/GAR/09GAR/09GAR001-1.pdf or call 671-475-1426.
Cats are subject to inspection at US ports of entry and must appear healthy on arrival. If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian, at the owner’s expense, may be required before entry is permitted. Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. States may require rabies vaccination for cats, however, so check with state and local health authorities at the final destination to determine any state requirements for rabies vaccination. All pet cats arriving in the state of Hawaii and the territory of Guam, even from the US mainland, are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements. For more information about Hawaii, consult http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/info or call 808-483-7151. For more information about Guam, see www.guamcourts.org/CompilerofLaws/GAR/09GAR/09GAR001-1.pdf or call 671-475-1426.
OTHER ANIMALS, ANIMAL PRODUCTS, AND VECTORS
Nonhuman Primates (Monkeys, Apes)
Nonhuman primates can transmit a variety of serious diseases to humans, including Ebola and tuberculosis. Nonhuman primate entry into the United States is restricted (see www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/monkeys.html). Nonhuman primates may only be imported into the United States by a CDC-registered importer and only for scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes. Nonhuman primates may not be imported as pets. All nonhuman primates are considered endangered or threatened and require additional FWS permits for importation. Nonhuman primates that leave the United States may only return through a registered importer, and only if they are imported for science, education, or exhibition.
Turtles can transmit salmonella to humans, and because turtles are often kept as pets, restrictions apply to their importation. More information is available at www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/turtles.html. A person may import no more than 6 viable turtle eggs or live turtles with a carapace (shell) length of <4 in (10 cm). More turtles may be imported with CDC permission but only for science, education, or exhibition. CDC has no restrictions on the importation of live turtles with a carapace length >4 in. Check with USDA or FWS regarding additional requirements to import turtles.
African Rodents and Civets
To reduce the risk of introducing monkeypox and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, live African rodents and civets, as well as potentially infectious products made from these animals, may not be imported into the United States (see http://www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/africanrodents.html or http://www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/civets.html). Exceptions may be made for animals imported for science, education, or exhibition purposes, with permission from CDC.
Bats are reservoirs of many viruses that can infect humans, including rabies virus, Nipah virus, and SARS coronavirus. To reduce the risk of introducing these viruses, the importation of all live bats requires a CDC permit. Because they may be endangered species, bats also require additional permits issued by FWS. The applications for a CDC import permit for bats can be found at www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/bats.html.
Other Animals, Trophies, Animal Products, and Vectors
Certain live animals, hosts, or vectors of human disease, including insects, biological materials, tissues, and other unprocessed animal products, may pose an infectious disease risk to humans and be restricted from entry. For example, goatskin souvenirs (such as goatskin drums) from Haiti have been associated with human anthrax cases, and CDC restricts their entry into the United States. Potentially infectious nonhuman primate trophies may be imported if they are treated to render them noninfectious or if accompanied by a permit issued by CDC. In some circumstances, restricted items may be admitted with a permit from CDC for science, education, or exhibition (see www.cdc.gov/od/eaipp). USWFS and USDA may also have requirements for animal products and trophies.
Travelers planning to import horses, ruminants, swine, poultry or other birds, or dogs used for handling livestock should contact USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service at 301-734-8364 or visit www.aphis.usda.gov to learn about additional requirements.
Travelers planning to import fish, reptiles, spiders, wild birds, rabbits, bears, wild members of the cat family, or other wild or endangered animals should contact FWS at 800-358-1949 or visit www.fws.gov/international/DMA_DSA/CITES/CITES_home.html.
For additional CDC information regarding animal and animal product importations, travelers should call 404-639-3441 or visit www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/index.html.
TRAVELING ABROAD WITH A PET
Travelers planning to take a companion animal to a foreign country should be advised to meet the entry requirements of the destination country and transportation guidelines of the airline. To obtain this information, travelers should contact the country’s embassy in Washington, DC, or the nearest consulate (see www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/).
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