RVHD NOTIFICATION: Minnesota Outbreak of RVHD
- Today we were notified of a small occurrence (25 rabbits) of Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (RVHD) in Pine County, MINNESOTA. All rabbits on the premises have died or been euthanized, and at this time there is no further known spread. However, as this 'index premises' was one which collected rabbits from multiple sources, we do not know the initial source of the disease.
Should you panic? NO! While frightening in its tenacity and ease of transmission, this disease can be managed and limited in spread by common precautions. It should never be treated lightly or disregarded.
We STRONGLY encourage those in Minnesota and the surrounding area to think carefully about any unexplained deaths in their herds and to take the appropriate steps for accurate diagnosis should symptoms and signs indicate any possibility of RVHD. If you have any doubts, contact your State Veterinarian for assistance--or contact the Rabbit Industry Council at 530-534-7390 or RIC@... ***Please see further details at the end of this email!!**
We also STRONGLY encourage all shows and exhibitors to use an appropriate disinfectant (see below) on all coops, carpets, and equipment. If you are uncertain of your herd health status, please stay home until you get it straightened out.
A PDF with all this information is available at http://www.showbunny.com/RVHD/InfoSheet_06-13-05.pdf . While the document is not yet updated to the current outbreak as yet (pending further, more detailed information), it is accurate and highly useful regarding prevention, management, and reporting of this deadly disease.
*****CURRENT OUTBREAK INFORMATION*****
On 4-22-10, a report was made to the OIE which noted that beginning in early February of 2010, rabbits at a facility in PINE COUNTY, MINNESOTA which collected rabbits for use as food at a wildlife rehabilitation center began to die at a startling rate, with 20 dying initially. This was thought to be due to feed contamination, but as further rabbits brought onto the property also died rapidly without clinical disease, a sample was submitted to a private laboratory for analysis.
WE CANNOT PRAISE THIS FACILITY ENOUGH FOR TAKING THIS STEP! It is vital that we all investigate unexpected deaths, especially multiple deaths, with diligence and care.
The sample was suspected to be positive for RVHD and further testing was done by the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and found to be definitively positive on enzyme-linked immunoassay testing for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus. The property was then thoroughly decontaminated and any remaining rabbits euthanized. Free ranging rabbits in the area are being trapped and surveilled for signs of the disease. (While native species are not susceptible, it is not known if there are feral domestics in the area.)
As of this point in time, this is the limited information we have. We're working on re-establishing contacts within USDA/APHIS to be able to bring you more and more detailed information as soon as possible.
*****RVHD IMPORTANT INFORMATION******
Symptoms and Forms of the Disease:
The disease seems to appear in three ways; the first and most common is called PERACUTE and is simply a dead rabbit in the cage from one visit to the next.
The ACUTE form is represented by a lethargic, depressed, off-feed animal that dies in the space of 1-2 days, shows incoordination and signs of pain before death, and may show clear or bloodstained nasal froth or discharge. A temperature of 105-106 degrees F may be present upon initial examination.
A small number (<5%) may survive up to two weeks with symptoms including jaundice, diarrhea and mucous in the stool, but this is much less commonly seen.
The third form, called SUBACUTE or transient, is much milder; the rabbit may show some signs of illness, then recover and are immune.
This is the most likely source of an asymptomatic carrier animal, as infective material is shed in urine and feces for at least 30 days, and the animal itself may act as a carrier for far longer. This form is most common in animals under 4 months of age, and less common in older animals.
Prevention and Control:
The nature of the VHD organism is such that it is highly contagious, easily spread, has a varied range of morbidity (number of animals contracting the disease) and extremely high mortality (number of animals dying from the disease).
The virus is quite 'sticky'; it is easily moved about by transportation provided by animate and inanimate objects, such as clothes, shoes, show jackets, carriers, people, dogs, predators, tires, birds, etc. It is also very hardy, surviving both heat and cold handily.
Careful sanitation and disinfection are imperative to halting or limiting the spread of VHD, as is the maintenance of a closed herd.
Recommended disinfectants are those with a spectrum of activity covering Hepatitis E and Norwalk virus.
The disinfectants recommended by USDA are 2% One-Stroke Environ (Steris Corp, St. Louis, MO), .5% sodium hypochlorite, or 10% household bleach. Virkon is another brand of disinfectant which has been mentioned.
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- This additional information was posted on Etherbun
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RABBIT HEMORRHAGIC DISEASE VIRUS - USA: (MINNESOTA), OIE
Date: 25 Apr 2010
Source: OIE WAHID (World Animal Health Information Database) Disease
Information 2010; 23(17) [edited]
Information received on 22 Apr 2010 from Dr John Clifford, Deputy
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United
States Department of Agriculture, Washington, United States of America
Report type: Immediate notification
Start date 07 Feb 2010
Date of 1st confirmation of the event 20 Apr 2010
Report date 22 Apr 2010
Date submitted to OIE 22 Apr 2010
Reason for notification: Reoccurrence of a listed disease
Date of previous occurrence 28 Mar 2008
Manifestation of disease: Sub-clinical infection
Causal agent: Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus
Nature of diagnosis Laboratory (advanced)
This event pertains to the whole country
Outbreak 1 Pine County, Pine County, Minnesota
Date of start of the outbreak 07 Feb 2010
Outbreak status: Continuing (or date resolved not provided)
Epidemiological unit: Farm
Affected Population: The index premises is a private residence that
receives donated rabbits to use as a food source at a wildlife centre.
This is a non-commercial incident.
Epidemiology - Source of the outbreak(s) or origin of infection.
Unknown or inconclusive.
Epidemiological comments: The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection
Services (APHIS) and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health are
conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation of this event.
-- Donated rabbits are received at a wildlife centre in Washington
County then transferred to the index premises, a private residence,
where they live until they are needed as a food source at the wildlife
-- Twenty rabbits died suddenly on the index premises approximately 2
months ago, and feed contamination was suspected as the cause of
death. All new rabbits taken to the index premises after the initial
rabbit deaths also died suddenly without exhibiting clinical signs.
-- Tissue samples were submitted to a private laboratory which
suspected rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD). Tissue samples were
subsequently submitted to the National Veterinary Services
Laboratories (NVSL) Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL).
-- Trapping or surveillance of free ranging rabbits will occur at the
index premises and the wildlife centre. Note: in Minnesota the
predominant wild rabbits are eastern cottontails and black-tailed
jackrabbits, not known to be susceptible to RHD.
Measures applied - Quarantine;
Disinfection of infected premises/establishment(s);
Vaccination prohibited; No treatment of affected animals
Laboratory name and type: NVSL Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic
Laboratory (National laboratory)
Test antigen (Ag) detection ELISA
Test date 20 Apr 2010
The event is continuing. Weekly follow-up reports will be submitted.
I support the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund
National Helpline 0844 324 6090
A hutch is not enough
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