Proposed Rule Changes to OARs on Reporting Communicable Diseases

With the new year come a few proposed changes in Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) regarding reporting and investigation of communicable diseases in Oregon.

This issue of the CD Summary encapsulates the proposed changes or you may view the complete text of the changes on the DHS Web site.

You are invited to comment on the proposed rules at a public hearing to be held February 22 at 1:00 p.m. at 800 NE Oregon Street, Room 1E, Portland, OR 97232. If you cannot make it in person, you may send written comments to ACDP at the address above, fax them to (971) 673-1299 or email them to before 5:00 p.m. on February 22. Please put “Rules” in the subject line.

The following proposed changes relate to veterinary medicine:


Of organisms that can infect human beings, approximately 60% can be transmitted by animals.5 The proposed rule change requires clinical laboratories (not laboratories in veterinary clinics) that test specimens from animals to report the following pathogens and diseases:

(a) Immediately, day or night: anthrax, rabies, and plague;
(b) Within one day: psittacosis, leptospirosis, Q fever, and tularemia;
(c) Within one week: Baylisascaris, Borrelia burgdorferi, campylobacteriosis, Cryptococcus, Cryptosporidium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, giardiasis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, Toxocara, West Nile virus, and yersiniosis.

DHS is always interested in learning about animals sick with infectious diseases of potential human health significance (e.g., TB in elk and H1N1 influenza in cats and ferrets)


Several species of animals are routinely vaccinated against rabies. A certificate should always be provided immediately after the rabies vaccine is given. Under the new rules, only licensed veterinarians may complete and sign the Rabies Vaccination Certificate (electronic signature included).

When unvaccinated animals are exposed to rabies (e.g., by tussling with a rabid bat), they must be quarantined for six months or destroyed. However, when vaccinated animals are exposed to a rabid animal (such as a bat), they may be revaccinated and then quarantined. The proposed rule would reduce period of required quarantine from 90 days to 45 days. For reasons unknown, DHS has had 90 days in the rules for quite some time. They are simply aligning their recommendations with the nationally accepted Rabies Compendium.6

Penalties for Non-Compliance

In 2007 the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed House Bill 2185, a major reform of Oregon public health law. Among many other things, it authorized the Department of Human Services (DHS) and local public health administrators to *issue a notice of violation of a public health law and impose a civil penalty as established by rule not to exceed $500 a day per violation* (Oregon Revised Statute 431.262[d]).

Accordingly, the proposed OAR 333-026 would authorize the imposition of civil penalties for the following:
(a) failing to report a reportable disease in accordance with OAR 333-018;
(b) reporting to work in a communicable stage of any restrictable disease in violation of OAR 333-019-0010 or 333-019-0046 (schools, child care, health care or food service facilities),*
(c) permiting a child to attend school in violation of OAR 333-019-0010;
(d) failing to immunize an animal against rabies in accordance with OAR 333-019-0017;
(e) failing to license a dog in accordance with OAR 333-019-0019;
(f) failing to euthanize an animal in accordance with OAR 333-019-0024 or 333-019-0027;
(g) euthanizing an animal or destroying the head of a mammal that has bitten a person without authorization from the Local Public Health Authority; or (h) failing to confine an animal in accordance with OAR 333-019-0027.


5. Taylor LH, Latham SM, Woolhouse ME. Risk factors for human disease emergence. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2001;356:983*9.
6. National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. Compendium of animal rabies prevention and control, 2008. MMWR 2008;57 (RR-2).

Source: DHS