Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Review
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a highly contagious, fatal disease in rabbits and is currently classified as a reportable, foreign animal disease in the United States. Animal health officials detected rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus serotype 2 (RHDV2) for the third time in the United States in February 2020. It has since been spreading to multiple states across the Southwest. It is important to note that RHDV2 does not impact human health.
RHDV2, unlike other rabbit hemorrhagic disease viruses, affects both domestic and wild rabbits. Infected rabbits may develop a fever, be hesitant to eat, or show respiratory or nervous signs. However, many times, the only signs of the disease are sudden death.
How RHDV2 Spreads
RHDV2 can be spread through direct contact or exposure to an infected rabbit’s excretions or blood. The virus can also survive and be spread from carcasses, food, water, and any contaminated materials. It has also been spread by insects. Because of survivability, people can spread the virus indirectly by carrying it on their clothing and shoes after being exposed to an infected animal or environment. Thorough biosecurity and vaccination are the only way to protect your rabbits.
Source: fs-rhdv2.pdf (usda.gov)
Summary of Efficacy Study
A study was performed to evaluate the vaccine’s performance against direct challenge with live RHDV2 virus. The study results in Table 1 (below) showed zero mortalities in the vaccinated group of rabbits and a 69% mortality rate in the placebo group after being challenged with the RHDV2 virus. The difference in mortality rates between the vaccinated and placebo groups was highly statistically significant with a p-value of 0.0017.
|Treatment Group 1 (Placebo)||69%|
|Treatment Group 2 (Vaccinates)||0%|
Safety Study Data
At this time, one third of the required safety information has been completed and approved by the USDA for Emergency Use Authorization.
Currently, 105 rabbits (kits and breeding stock in various stages of reproduction) have been fully vaccinated and observed for safety concerns. Of these 105 rabbits, one kit and one adult rabbit exhibited minor post injection swelling at the site of administration. This swelling was resolved within 48 hours.
Medgene Labs is actively engaged with State Veterinarians to work through each state's requirements for distribution and reporting. We have currently completed the process with 43 State Veterinarians as well as Washington DC. Below is a list of the states we are able to distribute RHDV2 vaccines to. We continue to work diligently to make this vaccine available nationwide to do our part in stopping this pandemic. We will update this list as new states are added.
Connecticut (approval on individual basis)
Florida (approval on individual basis)
Montana (approval on individual basis)
Tennessee (approval on individual basis)
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