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Virus Killing Nevada Rabbits


Chu86happychu via Wikimedia Commons

In Nevada, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease was identified first in domestic rabbits and then among the wild population.

Infectious diseases know no species.

In recent weeks, the Nevada Department of Agriculture has sent out warnings about rabies in bats and a virus-caused illness that is killing rabbits.

Bats are most active in the warm-weather months, and so far this year the state’s Animal Disease Laboratory has confirmed seven positive rabies cases in bats from Clark and Washoe counties among 180 bats tested. In a typical year, scientists identify about 10 to 20 cases of bat rabies.

In May, the Department of Agriculture announced a case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) in domestic rabbits in Southern Nevada. The disease, which has spread through much of the Southwest, was later confirmed in Nevada’s wild rabbit population.

The disease cannot be transmitted to humans but it is fatal and highly contagious among rabbits.

According to the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, often the only signs of the disease are sudden death and bloodstained noses caused by internal bleeding.

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Amy Mitchell, veterinarian, State of Nevada 

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