CALIFORNIA— The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday, August 4 that there was a report of the newly found Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHDV2) in the County.
RHDV2— unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic— was first discovered in 2018 and has had three separate outbreaks since. The disease, classified as a foreign animal disease in the United States, is highly contagious and affects both wild and domestic rabbits. The disease resurfaced in the U.S. in February.
The DPH reported, “The first case of RHD was confirmed on May 13, 2020 when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) identified a wild jackrabbit in Palm Springs, one of 10 that had died, that tested positive for the virus. The virus has also been found in wild and domestic rabbits in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Mexico since March 2020.”
They additionally reported RHD was found in wild cottontail rabbits in Littlerock in the Antelope Valley and Juniper Hills in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountain on Tuesday.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the only signs of the disease are often sudden death and blood stained noses caused by internal bleeding. Infected rabbits may also develop a fever, be hesitant to eat, or show respiratory or nervous signs.
The USDA advises the virus is very resistant to extreme temperatures. It can be spread through direct contact or exposure to an infected rabbit’s excretions or blood and can also survive and spread from carcasses, food, water, and any contaminated materials. RHDV2 has no affects on humans, but they can spread it by carrying it on their clothing or shoes.
Currently, there is no approved vaccine for RHD available in the United States, but veterinarians are able to order two types of approved vaccines in California: Eravac and Filavac.
As of now, RHDV2 has been reported in the following California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. To report a case in Los Angeles County, call 213-288-7060 and ask to speak to the veterinarian on duty (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm), or complete the reporting form here and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 213-481-2375.