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ECORP Biologists Identify First Known Cases of RHDV-2 in California

Since March 2020, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV-2) has been spreading through wild and domestic lagomorphs in the western U.S. and Mexico, causing large mortality events. RHDV2 is highly contagious and is extremely persistent in the environment.

In early May, just days after ECORP biologists were alerted by a colleague in Arizona to the westward progress of the virus, ECORP biologists reported an unusual number of dead lagomorphs on a site in the Coachella Valley in Riverside County. At the request of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), ECORP collected a specimen and transported it to a lab for necropsy which confirmed the death was attributable to RHDV-2. Ultimately over fifty dead lagomorphs were found in the area over the course of just a few weeks. In the weeks since, cases have also been reported in San Diego, Orange, and San Bernardino counties.

CDFW, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to limit transmission and have published guidance. All ECORP field staff have implemented decontamination procedures to prevent transmission between project sites.

Below you can find links to some resources related to this disease:

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Card
CDFW Mortality Reporting
Decontamination protocols: USDA-APHIS website
Interactive Map on the USDA website

For more information, please contact Don Mitchell at (909) 307-0046.

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