Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2)

Commonly Infected Wildlife

Domestic and wild rabbits of all ages.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease for rabbits. It is a foreign animal disease and is of high concern in the United States.

Is This Animal Infected?

Often the only sign of the disease is sudden death, possibly with bloody nose caused by internal bleeding. Other signs include fever, loss of appetite, tiredness, neurologic signs, and difficulty breathing.

Can I Get It?

No. RHDV2 is not known to infect people.

How bad can it get?

There is no known risk to humans.

Symptoms in humans

None. Humans are not at risk.

Protect Myself and Others

To keep the virus from spreading:

  • Do not handle or consume sick or dead rabbits.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead rabbits.
  • Do not allow pets to eat rabbit carcasses.

The virus can be spread through contact with an infected rabbit or rabbit excretions, cages, bedding, feeders, equipment, etc. People can carry the virus on their hands, clothing, or shoes after handling an infected rabbit or its bedding, food, and other materials and then spread the virus to a healthy rabbit.

Safe for Pets?

No. RHDV2 can infect domestic rabbits. Although it is not known to infect other domestic animals, keep pets away from rabbit carcasses to help reduce the spread of this disease.

What Causes It?

RHDV2 is a virus that is spread via direct contact with infected rabbits, as well as their meat, fur, or droppings. 

The virus can survive on an object for up to 105 days in dry, room temperatures. The incubation period for the disease is one to five days.

If You Find a Dead Wild Rabbit

A single dead rabbit is not cause for alarm unless there is a blood-stained nose.

  • Do not handle dead rabbits.
  • Report clusters of wild rabbits found dead to Dr. Sherri Russell.