My local house rabbit community is concerned about a recent outbreak of RHD2. This virus has 90% fatality rate. In the US It seems to only affect domestic rabbits, in other parts of the world the domestic rabbit and the wild rabbit are the same species and it can be devastating. In those countries there is a vaccine available, the vaccine is not available in the US.

On Sept. 19, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHD2) was detected in a domestic rabbit in Medina County.

The rabbits at this location were housed in horse stalls and ran free in those stalls. They have been on site for several years and there has been no movement of rabbits on or off the premises recently. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will work with state and federal partners to conduct surveillance of wild rabbits near the location. Source

It is very contagious, it can be transmitted between rabbit colonies, in feed, bedding, or human clothing.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), also known as rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) or viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD), is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that affects wild and domestic rabbits of the species Oryctolagus cuniculus. The infectious agent responsible for the disease is rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), or rabbit calicivirus (RCV), genus Lagovirus of the family Caliciviridae. The virus infects only rabbits, and has been used in some countries to control rabbit populations. source

I have looked at all the available information, and can not find the route of infect for these rabbits.

We would be very interested in finding the source of this infection, so it can be avoided.

What is the source of RHD2 found in Medina County, OH?

Edit Feb 18, 2019 Dec 7, 2018 there was an outbreak in Clover Township, PA of type 1 (different strain than the type 2 cases in Ohio and Canada earlier in 2018). The best single source reference currently available is at https://rabbit.org/vhd/ Of the US 2018 outbreaks no sources have been identified.


1 Answer 1


No specific source for Medina County, OH outbreak has been identified.

In the 2018 - 2020 out break in Washington State, birds are suspected of being the source.

  1. Q: Since so many feral rabbits have already died from RHDV2, won’t the virus just eventually “die out” in WA state?

A: No. The state veterinarian’s office suspects that RHDV2 spread here originally from scavenging birds traveling from Canada to the San Juan Islands; there is no way to prevent spread of disease via birds. The virus is very stable in the environment, potentially surviving for more than 3 months without a host. It can also be spread by flies. This virus is unfortunately likely to remain in WA state for a long time. Here is a link to some additional information about RHDV2.


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