Domestic and wild rabbits of all ages.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease for rabbits — both wild and domestic. It is a foreign animal disease and is of high concern in the United States.
The most important protections against the spread of RHDV2 are:
RHDV2 is a virus that is spread via direct contact with infected rabbits. This leads to a contamination of their meat, fur, droppings, cages, bedding, feeder, and any other equipment that comes into contact with the infected host.
People can carry the virus on their hands, clothing, or shoes after handling an infect rabbit or its bedding, food, and other materials.
The virus can survive on an object for up to 105 days in dry environments at room temperature. The incubation period for the disease is one to five days.
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. Unexplained death of wild rabbits is suspicious.
No. RHDV2 is not known to infect people.
No. RHDV2 can infect domestic rabbits. Although it is not known to infect other domestic animals, it is best to keep pets away from rabbit carcasses to help reduce the spread of this disease.
1. To keep the virus from spreading, follow these best practices:
2. Movement of rabbits is a risk factor. A certificate of veterinary inspection is recommended and required to move domestic rabbits — especially between states. Contact your local veterinarian for information on how to get a certificate of Veterinary inspection.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, release pet rabbits into the wild.
4. If you find more than one dead rabbit, contact Wildlife Health at email@example.com and put “RHDV2” in the subject line.
To keep the virus from spreading:
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.
A single dead rabbit is not cause for alarm unless there is a blood-stained nose.