MADISON, WISCONSIN — Rabbits are under threat as a deadly hemorrhagic virus spreads across the southwestern United States.
According to a report from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center published on May 7, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus serotype 2 or RHDV2, a viral disease deadly to rabbits, is spreading across the southwestern United States.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus can infect domestic rabbits and wild rabbits such as hares, jackrabbits and cottontails.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the virus can cause sudden death and nose bleeds caused by internal bleeding.
Other symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, swelling and signs of nervousness or irregular breathing.
RHDV2 can survive on a dead animal's carcass for at least three months.
It can also spread if an animal or individual comes into contact with an infected animal's droppings or blood.
RHDV2 can also spread through food, water or any other material that has been exposed to the virus.
Humans can also spread the virus by carrying it on clothes and shoes.
RHDV2 does not affect human health.