PENNSYLVANIANS CAN HELP WATCH FOR RABBIT DISEASE

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HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Sport Fee is asking members of the general public to report any hare/rabbit mortality occasions – outlined as discovering two or extra lifeless hares/rabbits on the similar location with an unknown explanation for demise – by calling 1-833-PGC-WILD or through the use of the net Wildlife Well being Survey reporting software at https://www.pgcapps.pa.gov/WHS.

In accordance with the Pennsylvania Division of Agriculture, two captive rabbits from a facility positioned in Fayette County examined constructive for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Illness Virus 2 (RHDV2), one of many viruses that causes Rabbit Hemorrhagic Illness (RHD).

Home rabbit homeowners who’ve questions on this illness ought to contact their veterinarians, who in flip ought to instantly report suspected circumstances of RHD to the Pennsylvania Division of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Well being at 717-772-2852, choice 1. Veterinarians can name this line anytime.

Outbreaks of RHDV2 have beforehand been reported in home and wild rabbits throughout the USA. As of August 2022, it’s thought-about endemic in wild lagomorph (hare/rabbit) populations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. It has been detected in home rabbit populations in these states, in addition to Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

And now Pennsylvania. The Fayette County case marks its first prevalence right here.

The Sport Fee has an RHD Administration Plan in place. It outlines numerous methods the company might contemplate to guard Pennsylvania’s wild rabbits and hares. That plan may be discovered at https://www.pgc.pa.gov/Wildlife/WildlifeHealth/Pages/Rabbit-Hemorrhagic-Illness.aspx.

“RHD poses a major risk to the Commonwealth’s cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare populations, and as such, the Sport Fee is taking this latest detection very severely,” stated Dr. Andrew Di Salvo, Sport Fee veterinarian. “We’re working diligently to study extra about this prevalence of RHD and decide what actions, if any, to take and when.”

RHDV2 is a extremely pathogenic and contagious virus affecting hares, rabbits and carefully associated species. First recognized in home rabbits in France in 2010, it has since induced mass die-offs in wild hare and rabbit populations in a number of nations. It confirmed up in the USA in early 2020 and is now already thought-about endemic in wild rabbit populations in some western states.

The illness is unfold from animal to animal a number of methods, together with direct animal-to-animal contact, ingestion of contaminated meals or water; inhalation; contact with contaminated gear, instruments and enclosures; viral motion by flies, birds, biting bugs, predators, scavengers and people; and speak to with urine, feces and respiratory discharges from contaminated people. The virus can survive on clothes, footwear, plant materials or different objects that might by accident be moved from an contaminated space by people or different animals.

Hares and rabbits that don’t instantly die following an infection might current with poor appetites, lethargy, and blood coming from their mouths or noses.

There is no such thing as a particular remedy for RHD and it’s typically deadly, with die-offs of native populations probably reaching 75 to 100%. The virus could be very resilient and will stay on the panorama for months, too.

RHD poses no human well being danger. Nonetheless, a number of lifeless or sick hares and rabbits can be an indication of tularemia or plague, illnesses that may trigger critical sickness in people. Subsequently, it’s necessary that the general public not deal with or eat wildlife that seems sick or has died from an unknown trigger. It’s also necessary to forestall pets from contacting or consuming wildlife carcasses.

MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541

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