PIERRE, S.D. — The first confirmed case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) has been confirmed in a domestic rabbit in Custer County.
RHDV2 is a highly-contagious disease of wild and domesticated rabbits that can kill 80 – 100% of infected animals. It does not affect people or other animals. Rabbits at the highest risk are those exposed to wild rabbits or jackrabbits.
The virus causes sudden death in rabbits and may spread through direct contact with other infected rabbits, their meat or fur, or materials coming into contact with them. It can survive in the environment for an extended period of time.
South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says rabbit owners should enhance their typical bio-security measures by not allowing visitors to rabbitries, keeping wild rabbits from co-mingling with domestic or pet rabbits, limiting new introductions, and including an isolation period for any newly acquired rabbits. Owners should wash hands before and after working with rabbits, have a designated change of clothing and footwear when working with rabbits, and avoid sharing equipment with other rabbit owners.
Individuals who observe large numbers of dead wild rabbits are encouraged to report it to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks at (605) 773-3321. Anyone coming into contact with dead game should wear gloves to handle/clean carcasses and not harvest sick animals.
RHDV2 has been reported in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Florida, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Additional information regarding RHDV2 is available by clicking here.