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Oregon announces update on Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

Christian Fernsby |
In March 2020, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Type 2 (RHDV2), was confirmed in by the United States Department of Agriculture in pet rabbits in New Mexico.

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RHDV2 is a viral disease that causes sudden death in rabbits and can be spread through contact with infected rabbits, their meat or their fur, or materials coming in contact with them.

Since the initial report, RHDV2 has continued to spread, and additional detections were made in domestic rabbit premises and in wild jackrabbits and hares in multiple states, including Arizona and Texas.

Additional follow-up reports of native wild rabbit and hare die-offs in central and southern New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Texas occurred in April, in California in May, and in Utah in June.

Prior to these detections, RHDV2 had been detected in pet and feral European rabbits in the San Juan Islands and Clallam County in Washington State between July and December 2019, and in Medina County, Ohio in September 2018.

RHDV2 poses no risk to human health or other animals, but hares, jackrabbits, and wild eastern cottontails are susceptible to RHDV2. A vaccine for the disease is not currently available in the U.S., although a commercial vaccine is in the final stages of approval, and is expected in late 2020.

While this disease is not currently known to be present in Oregon, rabbit owners should practice good biosecurity measures to protect their animals from all diseases, such as washing your hands before and after working with rabbits, not sharing equipment with other owners, and following all applicable interstate movement requirements.

Oregon law requires rabbit owners obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and Import Permit prior to transporting any rabbits into Oregon.

Rabbit owners who have questions about this disease should contact their veterinarian.

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