African Swine Fever

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease of swine with the potential to infect domesticated hogs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs. The virus has the capability to manifest with a wide range of clinical signs and lesions. It can spread very rapidly in pig populations. The virus is found in all body fluids and tissues. ASF cannot be differentiated from classical swine fever by either clinical or postmortem examination.

There are some areas of the world where ASF is endemic, including countries of sub-Saharan Africa. It is also found in areas of Asia, Europe, Russia, China and Vietnam. Pigs become infected by direct contact with infected pigs or by ingestion of unprocessed infected pig meat or products, including frozen meats. Biting flies, ticks, contaminated farms, and fomites can also spread the virus.

There are no treatments or vaccines available. Control and eradication of the disease is based on identification of infected animals through surveillance, removal of infected herds, and preventing exposure of additional herds.

ASF does not affect human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans.

Strict biosecurity measures are essential to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus. The Board, federal agencies and industry partners are preparing for the potential introduction of this disease in this country. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has the following safeguards in place to reduce the risk of introduction into the United States: 

  • Import restrictions on pork and pork products.
  • Increased vigilance from Customs and Border Protection staff at ports of entry, paying particular attention to passengers and products arriving from China.
  • Increased collaboration with states that allow garbage feeding to ensure the swine industry follows best practices and encourages testing of sick pigs in these garbage feeders to include ASF.
  • Increased messaging to industry partners to raise awareness of the direct biosecurity concerns with foreign visitors to domestic swine operations.

The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is approved to test for ASF. The Board supports the VDL in its efforts to better prepare for this disease, which include expanding the types of samples which may be used for diagnosis.


Anthrax is a naturally occurring disease of animals caused by a bacteria. Anthrax is not spread by animal to animal contact like many other livestock diseases. Rather, anthrax spores in the soil are likely ingested by livestock while they graze on pasture. Once inside the animal’s body, the spores become active. Infected animals may die before showing any clinical signs. All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to anthrax, but cattle, sheep and goats are the most commonly affected. In rare cases, humans can contract anthrax after handling or eating infected animal products.

When anthrax is confirmed on a Minnesota farm, our district veterinarians place a quarantine on the herd. The quarantine can be released 30 days after the last animal death due to anthrax.

Since 2000, all positive anthrax cases in Minnesota have been confined to the northwest part of the state. As a precaution, producers with grazing animals in that area should consult with their veterinarians about vaccinating against anthrax infections. Additionally, livestock found dead in northwest Minnesota should be treated as an anthrax suspect. Carcasses should not be cut open and examined as this could release anthrax bacteria into the environment. Instead, producers should contact their veterinarian immediately so blood samples can be collected from the dead animal and submitted for testing.

Atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease

The Board of Animal Health has received reports of an increase in the incidence of canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) from veterinarians across the state. This increase is similar to what is being observed across the country this year. The majority of cases appear to follow the expected course and clinical characteristics of typical CIRD, with most dogs experiencing mild illness and a smaller percent having severe illness progressing to pneumonia or prolonged disease.

Significant media attention has focused on atypical CIRD (aCIRD) infections. aCIRD is defined as severe, acute respiratory disease in dogs without underlying risk factors (senior dogs, puppies, brachiocephalic, preexisting respiratory disease) that is refractory to routine, recommended treatment. aCIRD does not appear to be widespread in Minnesota at this time.

While a single infective agent has not been identified as the cause of the majority of aCIRD, PCR testing remains important for treatment recommendations and disease management. Samples for PCR need to be taken early in the course of disease for accurate results. PCR testing will be most accurate if done in the first 2 – 4 days of clinical illness. Before collecting and submitting any samples veterinarians should call the laboratory being used to verify sample collection and transport requirements.

The Board recommends dog owners, dog businesses, and veterinarians follow our canine influenza guidance to help stop the spread of any respiratory infection.

  • Keep sick dogs at home and isolated from other dogs for 30 days.
  • Avoid contact with sick dogs and consider leaving pets at home when visiting other households with dogs.
  • Ensure all recommended vaccinations are up to date.
  • Be aware that some dogs are at higher risk of more severe disease and may require early intervention. These include dogs that are: puppies, seniors, have underlying health conditions, and brachycephalic breeds.
  • Practice good cleaning and disinfection and biosecurity protocols.

Veterinarians can report suspected cases of aCIRD to the Board by sending medical records to

The Board will update guidance and information as the situation evolves.


Blastomycosis is a fungal infection that affects people, dogs and occasionally cats. It is caused by an organism known as Blastomyces dermatitidis. The fungus is commonly found near waterways in acidic soils that are rich in decaying vegetation. In Minnesota, blastomycosis is most common in St. Louis, Itasca, and Beltrami counties.

People or animals become infected with blastomycosis by inhaling airborne spores from the mold form of the organism found in the soil or decaying vegetation. The disease is not transmitted directly between animals or people. Symptoms of the disease may include loss of appetite, depression, fever, coughing, pain and skin lesions.

All positive animal blastomycosis cases must be reported to the Board of Animal Health and the reporting veterinarian must submit a Blastomycosis Case Report to the Minnesota Department of Health.



Since 1934, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), livestock industry and state animal health agencies have worked on eradicating brucellosis from livestock. Minnesota was given a Brucellosis Class Free status in 1985.

Brucellosis can be spread between animals and also to humans. The bacteria causing this disease spreads through milk, the aborted fetus or other reproductive tract discharges. Infected animals can experience abortions, give birth to weak or underweight calves and have decreased milk production.

To protect livestock and people from brucellosis, Minnesota takes an active role in surveillance for the disease. As part of the national surveillance program, a Minnesota packing plant that is one of the top 40 in the country collects blood samples from adult cattle at slaughter for brucellosis testing. The Board follows up on suspect samples from slaughtered animals by investigating the herd of origin and testing the herd for brucellosis if necessary.

Cattle can be vaccinated to protect them from brucellosis. Vaccination was a major component of the eradication program, and many calves in Minnesota continue to be vaccinated today.

Deer and Elk

Bovine brucellosis is a contagious disease of ruminant animals that can also affect humans. It is caused by bacteria known as Brucella abortus. The disease is spread through fluids from infected animals.

The Board of Animal Health administers a voluntary brucellosis certification program for farmed cervidae herds. To be awarded brucellosis certified status, a herd must be found negative on two consecutive whole herd brucellosis tests conducted nine to fifteen months apart. To maintain this status, whole herd brucellosis tests must be conducted every 36 months.

Canine Brucellosis

Canine brucellosis is a significant reproductive disease in dogs caused by the bacterium Brucella canis. The disease is spread between dogs and can be transmitted to humans. Canine brucellosis is not a curable disease at this time and once a dog is confirmed infected, it is considered infected for life.

All positive test results for canine brucellosis must be reported to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Any dog determined by the Board to be infected with Brucella canis must be permanently isolated from other dogs not known to be infected, or be euthanized. Treatment with antibiotics can be used to resolve clinical signs and decrease bacterial shedding. The Board does not recognize prior confirmed infected dogs that test negative for canine brucellosis after treatment as cured and will not release the quarantine on those dogs.

The following tests for canine brucellosis are approved by the Board of Animal Health.

Screening tests:

  • Rapid slide (or card) agglutination test (RSAT)
  • 2-mercaptoethanol rapid slide agglutination test (ME-RSAT)
  • Tube Agglutination Test (TAT)
  • Canine Brucella Multiplex Assay
  • Indirect Fluorescent Antibody (IFA)

Confirmatory tests:

  • Agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) test
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test
  • Culture- blood, urine, tissue

Canine Influenza

Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by Type A influenza virus. There are two different strains of influenza Type A virus, H3N8 and H3N2, which are currently circulating in dog populations in the United States.

The clinical signs of canine influenza in dogs are generally mild and include cough, runny nose and fever. Not all dogs that are infected will show signs of illness. The disease can occasionally be severe and may even result in pneumonia or death. No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported.

2023 Test Positive canine influenza virus cases in Minnesota

County Number of confirmed cases
Anoka 1
Beltrami 2
Carver 4
Dakota 2
Hennepin 79
Isanti 1
Ramsey 5
Scott 3
St. Louis 6
Washington 3

April, 2023 canine influenza press release. In addition to the confirmed cases in the table above, there were 196 suspected cases at the animal shelter in the start of the 2023 outbreak.

*Table current as of 08-08-2023

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease of Cervidae caused by an abnormally shaped protein, called a prion that can damage brain and nerve tissue. The disease is most likely transmitted from one animal to another through shedding of abnormal prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other bodily fluids or tissues. CWD is a slow and progressive disease without any known treatment or vaccine.

All farmed cervidae producers must test animals 6-months-old and older that die or are slaughtered for CWD. Tissue samples must be collected by an authorized sample collector and tested for CWD at an approved laboratory. White-tailed deer producers must report deaths or movements to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Farmed Cervidae producers can learn about biosecurity to protect their herd from CWD from the University of Minnesota.

Contagious Equine Metritis

Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) is a venereal disease of horses caused by a bacterium called Taylorella equigenitalis. CEM may be spread through natural breeding, artificial insemination, and contaminated equipment. Mares infected with CEM may show mild or more severe degrees of uterine inflammation and vulvar discharge. Abortion and permanent infertility can occur. Stallions and mares infected with CEM may not show symptoms, but can carry and spread the disease for years. Infected horses can be successfully treated with antibiotics and disinfectants.

CEM is considered a foreign animal disease, not endemic in the United States. If a horse in Minnesota is infected or exposed to the disease, the Board will place the horse under quarantine. Testing and treatment protocols must then be completed before quarantines can be released.

Equine Encephalitis Virus and West Nile virus

Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis (EEE & WEE) and West Nile virus are endemic diseases in the United States. Birds serve as the primary hosts for these diseases. These viruses are transmitted from birds to horses or people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. These viruses can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Infected horses may or may not show neurological symptoms and many recover completely from these diseases.

Vaccines for horses are widely available and have been proven to be effective in preventing infection. Steps can also be taken to reduce the risk of these diseases by reducing mosquito populations. Practices such as changing water in drinking troughs every week, mowing long grass, draining stagnant water puddles, and removing items such as old tires and tin cans may help to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. Horses and people can also be protected from mosquitoes by using repellents and placing screens over windows and stable doors.

Positive test results for equine encephalitis or West Nile virus must be reported to the Board of Animal Health.

Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy

Equine herpesvirus (EHV) is a contagious virus that can cause four clinical presentations including: neurological disease, respiratory disease, neonatal death and abortion. Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) is the neurologic disease that develops as a result of EHV infection. The virus has been associated with neurologic cases in llamas and alpacas, but has no effect on people or other types of livestock.

The virus is usually spread in nasal secretions between horses that are in close contact with each other or that share water or feed pails. The virus does not typically survive very long in the environment or on people or equipment. It is killed readily by most disinfectants, ultraviolet light and by drying. Infected horses are generally treated with supportive care. Anti-inflammatory drugs and antiviral medications are often used for those that develop the neurologic form of the disease.

EHM positive horses and EHM exposed horses must be quarantined as outlined in the Board of Animal Health EHM control plan. Board staff members will then work with herd veterinarians and horse owners to carry out the testing and observation protocols defined in the control plan before the quarantines can be released.

Equine Infectious Anemia

Equine infectious anemia (EIA) is a viral disease of horses most frequently transmitted by large biting flies between horses in close proximity. There is no vaccine or treatment for EIA. Once a horse is infected, it remains infected for life and is always a potential reservoir for spread of the disease.

EIA infected horses must be permanently quarantined and isolated or be euthanized to prevent the disease from spreading to other horses (Minnesota Rules 1721.0260).

Horses must have a negative test for EIA within 12 months prior to importation or attendance at public exhibitions in Minnesota.

Veterinarians can request additional Equine Infectious Anemia laboratory test forms (VS 10-11) from our online federal forms request page.

Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cloven hoofed animals, such as cattle, hogs, sheep, goats and deer. The disease is not a threat to human health.

FMD is caused by a virus that can be spread by air, direct contact with infected animals or animal products, and indirect contact with clothing, equipment, feed or manure contaminated with the virus. The virus can survive in the environment. Cool temperatures and a moist and organic environment allow the virus to survive longer while a dry environment and sunlight inactivate the virus.

The primary signs of FMD infection are depression, excessive salivation and lameness, vesicles (blisters) and erosions in the mouth, nares, muzzle, feet or teats. Although few infected animals die and many recover, the disease often leaves animals debilitated with weight loss, permanent hoof damage or poor growth.

There are many strains of FMD. There is no universal vaccine against FMD as vaccine must closely match the serotype and subtype of the circulating strain in order to protect unexposed animals. Once the guilty strain has been identified, vaccination can be used to control the disease.

In recent years, FMD has been found in Africa, South America, Asia, and parts of Europe with major outbreaks in South Korea and Japan in the last year. Currently, North America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand and some countries in Europe are considered free of FMD. The United States has eradicated nine outbreaks of FMD, the last of which occurred in 1929. If an outbreak were to occur today, many farmers’ livelihoods would be at risk from economic losses due to decreased milk and meat production. Valuable exports would be lost due to the resulting embargoes on products from the U.S. If deer or other wildlife were to contract the disease, the outbreak would be much more difficult to eradicate and would be even more widespread.

If you think your animals are displaying the clinical signs of FMD, contact your veterinarian or the Board.

Foreign Animal Diseases

A foreign animal disease (FAD), or exotic animal disease, is a disease that is not currently found in the United States. Certain FADs may have been in the U.S. at some point, but have been eradicated. There are many FADs that have never been found in our country. The FADs of greatest concern could cause significant illness or death in animals or cause economic harm by eliminating trade with other countries and states. These diseases would greatly impact the livelihood of Minnesota farmers and rural communities.

Investigating a Foreign Animal Disease

Minnesota has foreign animal disease diagnosticians (FADD) located throughout the state that are available 24 hours a day to investigate suspected cases of a FAD. The FADDs are state or federal regulatory veterinarians with specialized, hands-on training in diagnosing these diseases.

An investigation is triggered when the state veterinarian receives a report of animals with symptoms indicative of a FAD or when a diagnostic laboratory identifies a suspicious test result. The state veterinarian assigns a FADD to investigate the case immediately. Should a FAD be identified in Minnesota, the State would initiate its FAD response plan. This plan was drafted as a coordinated effort between the Board, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Johne's Disease

Johne’s disease is a contagious, chronic and sometimes fatal infection that primarily affects the small intestine of cattle. This disease was recognized as an important animal health issue for the U.S. dairy cattle industry in the mid-1990s. It was estimated in the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Dairy 2007 study that at least 68% of U.S. dairy herds are infected with the causative bacterium, Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis. In 1996, the estimated cost of Johne’s disease to heavily-infected U.S. dairy herds was approximately $200/cow, with an estimated national cost for the United States of about $200 million. A lower herd prevalence for U.S. beef cow-calf operations was reported in the 1997 NAHMS beef study.

Upon request, USDA and Board district veterinarians will be available to conduct Johne’s risk assessments if herd veterinarians are not available or able to assist.

For more information on Johne’s disease or to schedule a herd risk assessment, contact your veterinarian or neighborhood district veterinarian.


Mycoplasma are bacteria-like microorganisms that cause disease in poultry and can be spread through bird-to-bird contact, egg or hatchery transmission, or contact with contaminated equipment. Mycoplasma species that cause significant problems in poultry are Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Mycoplasma meleagridis and Mycoplasma synoviae. Mycoplasma in poultry is not a public health concern, but can be a significant disease issue for breeder flocks, hatcheries, poultry producers and poultry processing plants.

Mycoplasma gallisepticum

Commonly known as chronic respiratory disease in chickens and infectious sinusitis in turkeys, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is characterized by coughing, nasal discharge and conjunctivitis, and frequently in turkeys, infraorbital sinusitis. MG is the most pathogenic and economically significant form of Mycoplasma.

All commercial turkey breeder flocks, egg-type chicken and meat-type chicken flocks are required to participate in the MG Clean program of the NPIP. Any breeder flock that tests positive for MG is quarantined by the Board.  Positive flocks are usually depopulated.

Minnesota has been classified as MG Clean for turkeys since 1980 and MG Clean for meat-type chickens since 2003.

Mycoplasma meleagridis

A pathogen specifically of turkeys, Mycoplasma meleagridis (MM) is an egg-transmitted disease in which the primary lesion is airsacculitis in the progeny. Economic losses associated with MM in turkeys have been primarily from egg-borne infections. The economic losses have been reduced substantially with the availability of MM-free eggs and poults. Testing for MM is voluntary, although testing for most commercial turkey breeding flocks is very common.

Mycoplasma synoviae

Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) infections are most likely to cause upper respiratory infections or infectious synovitis involving the joints and tendons of the birds. At other times, MS becomes systemic and results in chronic infectious disease of chickens and turkeys. MS as with other Mycoplasma species is an egg transmitted disease which has the potential to become widespread in a short time period without proper and timely breeder flock surveillance.

All commercial turkey breeder flocks, egg-type layer and meat-type chicken breeder flocks are required to participate in the MS program. Breeder flocks that test positive for MS are quarantined by the Board. Positive flocks are eligible to participate in a Board approved salvage program or can be depopulated.

Minnesota has been classified as MS Clean for turkeys since 2003.

National Scrapie Eradication Program

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the brain, muscles, and central nervous system of sheep and goats. The disease is believed to be caused by an abnormal protein, known as a prion, which acts as the infectious and contagious agent. Scrapie is likely spread from mother to offspring and/or other herd/flock members through contact with afterbirth. Sheep or goats infected with the disease may exhibit behavioral changes due to damaged nerve cells. These signs progress until the animal dies. There is currently no cure or treatment for scrapie.

Minnesota is part of a nationwide program to eliminate scrapie across the United States. As part of the Scrapie Eradication Program, anyone who buys or sells sheep or goats in Minnesota is required to register with the Board. In addition, all sheep and goats must be officially identified when they leave the farm and before they are commingled with sheep or goats from other flocks or herds. Official identification is important because it makes it possible to trace a diseased or exposed animal to its flock of origin where disease control strategies can be implemented.

The Scrapie Eradication Program consists of the following components:

  • Identification of infected sheep or goats through nationwide slaughter surveillance.
  • Tracing of infected animals to their flock or herd of origin.
  • Quarantine and testing of exposed animals sold from an infected or source flock or herd.
  • Voluntary genetic testing of sheep to determine susceptibility to scrapie.

Producers may register their herd/flock by contacting the Board at (651) 201-6809 or by submitting the online form available by clicking on this link.

Ovine Progressive Pneumonia/Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis

Ovine progressive pneumonia (OPP) and related caprine arthritis-encephalitis (CAE), collectively known as small ruminant lentiviruses or SRLVs (also called Maedi-Visna in other parts of the world) are slowly progressive viral diseases resulting in reduced profits. OPP affects nearly half of Minnesota sheep flocks and transmission between sheep and goats has been well documented. Common early signs are loss of body condition and labored breathing or coughing while at rest, as well as swollen joints and lameness. The viruses can also cause “hard bag,” an enlarged, firm udder with little or no milk flow. Infected animals remain so for life though many will never exhibit clinical signs of disease.

There is no vaccine or cure, and earlier eradication methods involved costly rigid culling of test-positive animals and/or orphan rearing of young stock. Minnesota recently completed a 4-year trial documenting
a less expensive eradication method. Click this link to learn more about the trial and review the OPP Eradication Trial Report.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus

On June 5, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a federal order that requires producers, veterinarians and diagnostic laboratories to report herds that are positive with swine enteric coronavirus diseases (SECD), specifically porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV). The federal order also requires producers to work with a veterinarian to develop and follow a herd management plan to minimize the spread and impact of the disease.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus does not affect people and is not a food safety concern.

History of PEDv in the U.S.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) was discovered in the U.S. in April 2013. At the onset, symptoms including severe diarrhea and vomiting in young pigs led farmers and veterinarians to believe the disease was Transmissible Gastroenteritis (TGE), a disease commonly found in pigs in the U.S. It was soon evident that this disease was something different, causing more significant death loss in piglets. First identified in Europe in the 1970s, PEDv has become common in Asia and has also been confirmed in Canada. How the disease entered the U.S. swine population is unknown.

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is a disease in pigs that causes animal suffering and results in major economic loss. Since the 1980s PRRS has been common in the U.S. and Minnesota is no exception.

According to the Minnesota Pork Board, our state ranks second nationally in the number of hogs raised and second in the value of the animals sold for meat processing. Swine producers care about their animals and work hard to raise a quality product. PRRS can cause mild to severe respiratory issues in all age pigs, abortions in sows, and premature and poor-doing baby pigs. The swine community continues to work to understand how to control the spread of the virus while caring for the animals. The virus that causes PRRS can spread through many mediums including semen, nasal discharge, contaminated equipment, and through the air. Because the virus moves around so easily, PRRS is difficult to contain and nearly impossible to eradicate completely.

PRRS is not a reportable disease but has greatly impacted the state’s pork sector. Minnesota has taken an active role in PRRS research and is participating in a regional elimination project. To minimize risk of disease transmission of any kind, we encourage the implementation of biosecurity standards set by our industry partners.


Pullorum-Typhoid (P-T) is a disease caused by a Salmonella species that infects chickens, turkeys, and other types of poultry. This disease is egg-transmitted and can produce high death loss in the young birds. Birds that survive a P-T infection are carriers for life and can infect other birds.

Thanks to the NPIP, P-T has been nearly eliminated from poultry flocks in the United States. Blood-testing potential breeding birds and culling infected birds are required to eradicate this egg-borne disease and break the disease cycle. Breeders that test negative produce non-infected hatching eggs, chicks and poults.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

What is Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2?

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious virus affecting domestic and wild rabbits. RHDV2 is a Foreign Animal Disease that has appeared periodically in North America and has a high case fatality rate.

Where has RHDV2 been found?

RHDV2 initially occurred in North American domestic rabbits in Vancouver, Canada (2018). The virus appeared later in 2020 in domestic rabbits in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Utah, and Texas. RHDV2 was first confirmed in wild black-tailed jackrabbits and cottontail rabbits in the United States in April 2020. As of June 2020, RHDV2 has been confirmed in wild populations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and in 5 northern states of Mexico. The source of the recent RHDV2 outbreaks has not been identified.

How do I know if a rabbit has RHDV2?

Sudden mortality in otherwise healthy rabbits is characteristic of RHDV2. Observation of sick rabbits prior to death is rare, but sick rabbits may be lethargic and reluctant to move. Infected rabbits die between a day to two weeks after becoming infected. The virus kills 70 to 90 percent of infected rabbits. Rabbit carcasses may have bloody discharge from the nostrils and/or mouth or have no external signs.

How is RHDV2 spread?

RHDV2 is highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with infected rabbits or indirectly through contact with infected carcasses, blood, urine, and feces. The virus can also be present on contaminated surfaces such as cages, feed, water, and bedding. Insects, scavengers, predators, and birds can also spread the virus by contact with infected rabbits or carcasses.

How long can the virus live in the environment?

RHDV2 is very persistent and stable in the environment. It is resistant to extreme temperatures and can survive freezing. The virus has been found to survive up to 15 weeks in dry conditions.

What wildlife species are susceptible to RHDV2?

Hares and rabbits and pikas. In North America, RHDV2 has been confirmed in wild black-tailed jackrabbits, desert cottontail rabbits, mountain cottontail rabbits, and antelope jackrabbits. Experiments have shown eastern cottontails are susceptible to infection and mortality. No other species of wildlife are known to be susceptible.

Can RHDV2 infect humans?

It’s not known to affect people.

What should I do if I find a sick or dead wild rabbit?

If you find sick or dead wild rabbits, please contact your local state wildlife office to report your finding to a biologist, game warden, or wildlife veterinarian. Dead domestic rabbits should be reported to the Board of Animal Health.

Where can I get more information on RHDV2?

Current information on RHDV2 can be found on United States Department of Agriculture APHIS webpage.

Rabies Virus

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that affects the central nervous system causing encephalopathy leading to death. The virus is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. There are two forms of rabies:

  1. Dumb rabies, in which an animal acts sick, does not eat and is lethargic.
  2. Furious rabies, in which an animal shows aggressive and vicious behavior.

Over the past 100 years, there has been a substantial decrease in the number of human rabies cases due to the availability of a vaccine and vigilant surveillance by public health officials. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health investigates rabies cases and may quarantine exposed animals to prevent the spread of the virus. The Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine offers this Rabies Vaccination Guidance Document for veterinarians and the public.

Wild animals make up the majority of Minnesota’s annually reported rabies cases. Species of highest concern include skunks and bats, which are carriers for the virus. Less than 15 percent of rabid animal cases reported annually in Minnesota occur in domestic species; the most common being cattle, cats and dogs.


Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause illness in humans and animals. Salmonella is a public health concern because people can become infected through direct contact with animals, their environment or if food is not handled and prepared properly

While there are many different Salmonella species, Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) and Salmonella Typhimurium (ST) are among the most common serotypes that cause illness in people. All egg-type chicken breeding flocks and hatcheries participate in the NPIP SE Clean Program. Turkey and meat-type chicken breeding flocks and hatcheries can participate in Sanitation Monitored Programs through the NPIP which establish guidelines for reducing and monitoring salmonella levels in breeding flocks and hatcheries.



Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease caused by a bacteria. The disease has the ability to spread between livestock, wildlife and humans. A national eradication program was launched in the 1930s and is on-going, as the disease is still present in some states.

Minnesota has eradicated bovine TB twice. The state first attained TB-Free status in 1971. When the disease was again discovered in beef cattle in 2005, the Board of Animal Health went to work. Thanks to the commitment and hard work of many, Minnesota regained a statewide TB-Free status in 2011.

Now that Minnesota livestock is free of the disease, it is our job to make sure TB stays out of the state. Our first line of defense is setting import requirements. Cattle at an increased risk of being infected with TB must meet additional import requirements, including whole-herd or individual animal TB testing.

Minnesota cattle are also tested for TB. Herd veterinarians conduct an initial test called the caudal fold tuberculin test (CFT). Animals that test suspect on the CFT will need a follow-up test performed by a Board of Animal Health or federal veterinarian. If the follow-up comparative cervical tuberculin test (CCT) is positive, the herd is quarantined. The Board and the USDA then work with the herd owner to determine next steps.
Additionally, federal animal health officials collect samples for TB surveillance at slaughter. The samples collected from slaughtered animals are sent to a federal diagnostic laboratory for testing. If TB is identified in samples from Minnesota-slaughtered animals, we are notified of these results and then begin an investigation to identify the source of the animal. Our district veterinarians gather background information on the infected animal and a quarantine is placed on the animal’s herd. The whole herd is TB tested to determine if other animals are infected.

Deer and Elk

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that can affect many mammals, including members of the cervidae family. The disease is caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It can be transmitted between livestock, humans, and other animals. The disease is spread through respiratory and oral secretions from infected animals.

The Board of Animal Health administers a voluntary tuberculosis accreditation program for farmed cervidae herds. To be awarded tuberculosis accredited status, a herd must be found negative on two consecutive whole herd tuberculosis tests conducted nine to fifteen months apart. To maintain this status, whole herd tuberculosis tests must be conducted every 36 months.