A case of rabbit hemorrhagic disease has been detected in Arkansas, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture.
The United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services verified that a domestic rabbit located in Northeast Arkansas tested positive for rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV-2). The Arkansas Department of Agriculture website states that the rabbit was housed for approximately 10 days at an indoor facility in the Craighead/Poinsett county region.
According to the House Rabbit Society, the disease is highly contagious and caused by a calicivirus that affects both wild and domesticated European rabbits. The RHDV-2 strain was first spotted in France in 2010 before spreading in Europe and the Mediterranean and subsequently around the world.
RHDV-2 was detected in the southwest United States in March 2020 and cases have been identified in multiple states, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.
The symptoms of the disease, according to the House Rabbit Society, include loss of appetite, lethargy, high fever, seizures, jaundice, difficulty breathing, and bleeding from mouth/nose/rectum. It can cause sudden death, primarily from necrotizing hepatitis, liver failure or hemorrhage.
It is spread through direct contact with live rabbits or materials, such as carcasses, food, water or feces, that have been contaminated. Humans and other animals can also spread the virus without becoming infected.
The mortality rate for the RHDV-2 virus is 5-80+ percent, but during the outbreak in the southwest United States and Mexico, the death rate was closer to 90 percent, according to the House Rabbit Society.
For more information on the virus, click here.