Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease virus 2 found in rabbits in Las Vegas
On April 27th, the NDA received a report of sudden death in domestic rabbits at a household in Las Vegas. Samples were collected and sent to the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) and were reported back as positive cases on April 30, 2020. The infected household is under quarantine, per state quarantine officer NDA Director Jennifer Ott. RHDV2 is not a coronavirus related disease.
“RHDV2 is a non-zoonotic viral disease that causes sudden death in rabbits,” said NDA interim state veterinarian Dr. David Thain, DVM. “While it is not harmful to humans, it can spread quickly among rabbits and we have gotten reports of cases in nearby states recently.”
On March 25, the NDA Animal Disease Lab received information from the New Mexico state veterinarian confirming a case of RHDV2 in a domestic rabbit in New Mexico. On April 2, they also found RHDV2 in a wild black-tailed jackrabbit and several wild cottontails, representing the first detection of this virus in wild rabbits in the U.S. Since then, cases have also been confirmed in Arizona, Texas and Colorado.
RHDV2 can be spread through contact with infected rabbits, their meat or their fur, or other materials such as a handler’s clothing or shoes. While early detection is difficult, some infected rabbits may develop a fever, loss of appetite, or show respiratory issues. Good biosecurity can help mitigate the spread. ■