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Dead rabbits in Oregon had RHDV2

The highly contagious virus can spread quickly among rabbit populations.

Farm Press Staff

August 5, 2022

2 Min Read
Wildlife ecologist Joshua Millspaugh uses radio tracking to track and study wild rabbits.USDA ARS

Two domestic rabbits that died recently in Lane County, Ore., had rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2, a deadly disease that can spread rapidly among the rabbit population, the Oregon Department of Agriculture warns.

The confirmation comes about a week after seven domestic rabbits living in Multnomah County also died because of RHDV2.

The Lane County rabbits' owner reported that one of his animals became lethargic, refused to eat, then experienced convulsions shortly before suddenly dying on the morning of July 29. Later that day, a second rabbit in the house also died, according to ODA.

The owner then submitted one of the animals to Oregon State University for testing. No other rabbits were present in the household.

RHDV2 is a highly contagious virus that can spread quickly among rabbit populations. The virus poses no human health risk and is only known to infect rabbits and hares. It is resistant to extreme temperatures and can survive in the environment for months under certain conditions. 

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease causes sudden death in rabbits and spreads through direct contact between infected and susceptible live rabbits or exposure to contaminated materials (carcasses, pelts, food, water, and forage, etc.) Birds, rodents, flies, predators, and scavengers can spread the virus via their feet, fur or feathers, or feces without becoming infected themselves. 

Wild rabbits

In the Lane County case, wild rabbits are known to reside near the home and the owner's cat is known to spend time outside as well as spending significant time with the domestic rabbits.

Call 1-800-347-7028 or visit https://oda.direct/RHD to report domestic rabbits suspected to have died from RHDV2.

To report the death of wild rabbits, contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) by calling 1-866-968-2600 or email  [email protected] .

The outbreak comes as another disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza, has spread in domestic flocks throughout the West this spring and summer, prompting several bird quarantines in Oregon.

Source: Oregon Department of Agriculture, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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