The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to remove Morocco from its list of countries considered to be affected with African horse sickness, a fatal viral disease. This change would relieve restrictions on the importation of horses into the United States from Morocco.

The proposed action is based on information submitted by agriculture officials in Morocco and on standards set by the Office International des Epizooties, the world organization for animal health.

“This change would significantly reduce the quarantine requirement for horses being imported from Morocco from a minimum of 60 days to about 3 days,” said Craig A. Reed, administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a part of USDA’s marketing and regulatory programs mission area.

African horse sickness has not been detected in Morocco for more than six years, and vaccination against the disease has been prohibited for more than three years.

This proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the April 6 Federal Register. APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS rules, are available at

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before June 7. Please send an original and three copies to Docket No. 98-055-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3CO3, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238.