A deadly virus targeting domestic rabbits and wild rabbits has been discovered for the first time in Los Angeles County, public health officials said.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHDV2) was found in wild rabbits in Littlerock in Antelope Valley and Juniper Hill at the foot of San Gabriel Mountain, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced August 4.
The disease was discovered in Palm Springs in May, then spread to San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties, state wildlife officials said.
It appeared in Mexico, and New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Texas before being found in the carcass of a black-tailed jackal filed from private property near Palm Springs in May ̵1; it was first seen in California.
RHDV2 is not related to the new coronavirus and does not affect humans or animals other than lagomorph, including all wild and domestic rabbits, hares and pikas.
Wildlife officials consider this a threat to local ecosystems due to its expected impact on predator species. Declining wild rabbit populations are likely to drive wolves and raccoons into urban areas in search of food.
Breeders of rabbits are concerned about this virus because it has a 90% mortality rate, and sudden and severe deaths.
“Infected rabbits and jackrabbits may have no symptoms leading to their sudden death, or they may experience fever, swelling, internal bleeding and liver necrosis,” said the Bureau of Fish and Animals. wildlife said California.
All rabbit owners and veterinarians are encouraged to learn about the virus and how to protect rabbits. A vaccine has been developed and domestic rabbit breeders are encouraged to contact their veterinarian for more information. You can find a list of Southland veterinarians who provide this vaccine at www.larabbits.org/articles/rhdv2.
Officials have issued the following guidelines for hare breeders or those exposed to wild hare:
- House rabbits should stay indoors at all times to minimize possible exposure;
- Any sick or dead rabbits should be reported to state wildlife officials (https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Investigations/Momplete/Mortality-Report ) and must NOT be touched;
- Any unusual illness or sudden death should be reported to your veterinarian;
- The virus is highly contagious and can spread by direct contact with infected animals and / or their urine / feces; can also be spread on contaminated objects, insects, etc., so good hygiene practices are essential.
- This means washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling rabbits, thoroughly disinfecting, leaving footwear outside, controlling insects, etc.
- Know the source of your hay / feed and if they are near disease-affected areas;
- Keep your dog on the leash when going out so that it will not come into contact with wild rabbits; Consider letting your dog put on his underwear when going out or washing his feet before going indoors. Keep dogs and rabbits in separate areas of your home.
The California Department of Agriculture and Food issued a quarantine order on May 12, where “No rabbits, hares or their products (meat, pellets, raw hides, carcasses, etc.) or equipment is Used for processing rabbits may enter California from states or counties where the RHD was diagnosed in the prior year. “