As of July 1, 2021, RHDV2 has been detected in the following Nevada counties: Clark, Nye, Douglas, Pershing, Lander, Lyon, Elko and Washoe. More information including current rabbit import requirements, biosecurity recommendations and USDA disease tracker information is available below.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious, often fatal, foreign animal disease of rabbits and hares. Since Nevada's first detections in spring 2020, NDA has continued to monitor and investigate the rabbit/hare population for the disease. RHDV2 is easily transmitted between rabbits/hares, and the virus can persist in the environment for extended periods of time. Detections confirmed in counties in several areas of the state further underscore that there is no distance within the state, that can be considered 'safe'.
Protecting against RHDV2
Strict biosecurity measures are critical, even in areas of the state that the virus has yet to be detected. Rabbit shows and events contradict USDA biosecurity recommendations, especially in a state currently experiencing an outbreak.
While RHDV2 is unrelated to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there are additional COVID-19 regulations and recommendations regarding rabbit shows that have been outlined by the CDC. At this time, travel with rabbits and/or commingling rabbits in common areas is strongly discouraged, this includes any shows or events involving rabbits or hares.
Although there is no approved RHDV2 vaccination available in the US, there are vaccinations available and in use in Europe. Following confirmation of RHDV2 within the state of Nevada, NDA, in cooperation with USDA, was able to authorize the importation and distribution of RHDV2 vaccination through Nevada licensed veterinarians. As the importation process is both cost and labor intensive, and requires approval through USDA and NDA, licensed Nevada veterinarians should contact NDA for more information. It should be noted that no vaccination is 100% effective, and vaccinated rabbits can still become infected and spread the disease.
UPDATE: A new RHDV2 vaccine has received Emergency Use Authorization from the Center for Veterinary Biologics, and the Nevada State Veterinarian has authorized the conditional use of this vaccine by Nevada licensed veterinarians in Nevada rabbits. Veterinarians can contact the Nevada State Veterinarian directly with further questions. Rabbit owners should continue to contact their veterinarians with questions, including vaccination options.
Who to contact with questions or suspected cases
- Rabbit owners should direct any questions or concerns to their veterinarian.
- Concerns regarding wild rabbits can be directed to NDOW Wildlife Health Specialist Nate LaHue, DVM, MPVM.
- Veterinarians with questions or suspect cases can contact the State Veterinarian directly.
Additional RHDV2 resources