There is currently no vaccine for the RHDV2 virus in the United States.
Biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the presence of rabbit hemorrhagic disease in the state for the first time .
In a statement , the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory reported that it found the carcass of a black-tailed hare near private property in Palm Springs in early May. Later they found 9 more bodies.
“The samples sent confirmed the presence of the RHD type 2 virus (RHDV2) for the first time in California. This disease is highly contagious and often lethal to wild and domestic rabbits, ”they warned.
Deadly Disease Detected in California Wild Rabbits for the First Time https://t.co/0iCmvWZreW
— California Department of Fish and Wildlife (@CaliforniaDFW) May 13, 2020
It is important to emphasize that this calicivirus does not affect humans or domestic animals other than rabbits, hares or pikes . The disease is transmitted between wild and domestic rabbits.
At this time, it is not known what other populations of California rabbits are infected, “but the disease has spread rapidly in other states,” say the biologists. From March to May, cases of rabbit hemorrhagic disease have also been reported in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and Mexico .
There have been deaths of both wild rabbits and hares. Infected animals can present symptoms such as fever, swelling, internal bleeding and liver necrosis, although they can also die without having presented any of these signs. The deadly rabbit virus can have a significant impact on habitats in the United States.
Veterinarian Deana Clifford explains that it can significantly affect endangered rabbits and predatory animals that depend on them for food. If you suspect a case, you can call the CDFW Wildlife Research Laboratory at (916) 358-2790. Although the virus does not infect people , they can transport it to new areas. Environmental authorities ask people to take precautions when hiking or camping in California fields.
They must take special care not to handle rabbit carcasses .”The virus is resistant and can remain alive in meat, fur, clothing and equipment for a long time, which makes it easily transmissible to other areas,” they note.
There is currently no vaccine for RHDV2 in the United States. If you have domestic rabbits at home, keep them safe. Wash your hands before and after touching them to avoid spreading them.