(ORDO NEWS) — A highly infectious and deadly virus spreads throughout the United States and threatens rabbit populations.
Infected rabbits may not show any symptoms before sudden death, or they may suffer from fever, swelling, internal bleeding, and liver failure. According to officials, the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 is deadly to wild and domestic rabbits, but does not infect humans or pets other than rabbits.
RHDV2 is not associated with coronavirus and is distributed only among rabbits, hares and peaks – the little cousin of a rabbit living in the mountains. This disease was discovered in rabbits in the western states, but quickly spread, and if not stopped, it could destroy wild rabbit populations.
“Unfortunately, we can also observe effects on species that depend on rabbits for food, since rabbits are common prey for many predators,” said Deana Clifford, senior veterinarian at CDFW.
The USFW has asked those who have observed monitoring sick or dead rabbits to report a problem, but be careful to minimize the spread of the virus, which is described as very hardy. Hunters are also advised to take precautions.
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