Wildlife officials report that there is a deadly virus spreading in the US and Mexico killing the rabbits. Deaths of rabbits are increasing, and as much as ten were found in a single property. The cases are seen to be spreading from the month of March. Officials from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife confirmed that lab testing in New York came back positive with the RHD2 virus. Rabbit hemorrhagic virus is the culprit behind this, and mortality is noticed, especially in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Moreover, we see that the virus is affecting both wild and domestic rabbits.
While mortality is on the rise, officials have sought people’s help to report the sightings of dead rabbits, hares, or pikas. This would help them file an inline mortality report, which helps in tracing those carcasses. Officials have also asked filing and trekking people not to disturb the carcasses if they come in contact. They have also sent precautions to hunters as to not spread the virus as hunting to open on July 1 in California, and such spread will devastate the population of the rabbits and put them in danger. They also advise rabbit owners to take their sick rabbits to a veterinarian for treatment. Since it is viable in meat, fur, and clothing, it is essential to curb the spread of the virus.
The virus is not related to the coronavirus
The virus was first diagnosed in the USDA back in 2018 in feral rabbits of Delta and Vancouver Islands. This virus belongs to the calicivirus clade and has zero relationships with the coronavirus. While the virus seems to affect rabbits in a deadly manner, it doesn’t infer harm to humans or other domestic animals. The disease is said to be highly contagious and fast spreading in both domestic and wild rabbits. Infected rabbits, jackrabbits rarely exhibit symptoms, and death almost occurs instantaneously with swelling, internal bleeding, and necrosis.
All rabbits, jackrabbits, hares, and pika are susceptible to the disease. The transmission occurs via contact with the carcasses, bodily fluids of other rabbits, and other substances like fur, humans objects. Vaccination protocols are viable for the disease in European countries where the disease commonly occurs. Correct disinfection protocols with specific agents and strict quarantine measures can very well control the disease.
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