Rabbit hemorrhagic disease has spread to Uintah County, DWR officials say | News, sports, jobs

Months after the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources identified rabbit hemorrhagic disease in wild and domestic rabbit populations in a handful of southern and central Utah counties, wildlife officials say the deadly virus is spreading to northeastern parts of the state.

On Friday, DWR announced that serotype 2 rabbit hemorrhagic disease had been discovered between Fort Duchesne and Lapoint in Uintah County. In June, officials found the disease in Sanpete and Wayne counties, and later in San Juan and Iron counties.

RHDV-2 is a relatively new strain of the virus that first appeared in France in 2010 and “has spread rapidly across Europe and the Mediterranean, replacing the original strain in many counties,” according to the House Rabbit Society, a nonprofit organization with Based in California.

Prior to that year, “the disease was not known to affect North American native rabbits or hares such as cottontails, snowshoe hares, and hares”.

Symptoms of RHDV-2, which has a death rate of around 90% in the southwestern United States and Mexico, include seizures, bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum, difficulty breathing, and high fever, the House Rabbit Society wrote in an article on the virus .

Although RHDV-2 has no effect on humans, farm animals, or pets, it can “survive in the environment for months and spread from dead rabbit carcasses or through food, water, and other contaminated materials such as urine or feces from sick rabbits, or through” contact with feces Predators that have eaten infected rabbits, ”according to the DWR.

“Unfortunately, once it has established itself in the wild, it is difficult – if not impossible – to control the disease,” the DWR wrote in a press release, adding that hunters should do whatever “they can to prevent the disease from spreading “.

Advice to hunters includes wearing rubber or disposable gloves when handling and cleaning up game, decontaminating boots and other field equipment with bleach, disposing of leftovers where other rabbits or scavengers cannot reach them, and avoiding Eating, smoking or drinking when handling harvested animals and when cooking harvested game at an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

“If you notice any discoloration or bleeding on the internal organs after the rabbit is removed, or if you see anything that may appear abnormal or worrying, please contact your local DWR office,” the department wrote.

The DWR also asked that anyone “finding multiple dead rabbits or rabbits showing signs of the virus …

A U.S. Department of Agriculture interactive map shows RHDV-2 was confirmed in wild and domestic rabbits in the southwestern United States and Mexico on December 3, including Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and southern California.

If RHDV-2 is suspected in domesticated rabbits, the DWR recommends contacting a veterinarian immediately or calling the State Veterinary Office at (801) 982-2235.

To prevent further spread, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food bans rabbits or hares from counties where RHDV-2 has been detected in the past year from being shipped to Utah unless the animals are received 72 hours beforehand Veterinary control certificate.

For more information about the virus in domesticated rabbits, visit http://ag.utah.gov/farmers/animal-industry/animal-health-program/rabbit-hemorrhagic-disease/.

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