The first case of rabbit disease in Hawaii was found on the Maui farm;  ordered quarantine

The first case of rabbit disease in Hawaii was found on the Maui farm; ordered quarantine

PC: foto Changes through the USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture confirmed the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2) in a castrated male rabbit 4 to 5 years old on a Kula farm.

This is the first confirmed detection of the disease in Hawaii, according to a press release. Although fatal to rabbits, RHDV2 cannot be transmitted from animals to humans and does not affect human health.

The HDOA’s Animal Industry Division received a warning on June 14 that nine out of 12 rabbits had died on the Maui farm. A restraining order was immediately issued to prevent the movement of rabbits and cages and associated materials on and off the farm.

HDOA received confirmation on June 17 of RHDV2 infection in a tested rabbit from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory and HDOA State Veterinarian Dr. Isaac Maeda, issued a formal quarantine order at the facility.

The quarantine period is expected to be 120 days after the premises have been cleaned and disinfected. The outbreak appears to involve a single premise and is not expected to spread.


RHDV2 is a highly contagious viral disease and is classified as a foreign animal disease and requires detections to be reported to the USDA and the World Organization for Animal Health.


The disease was first detected in the U.S. in 2018 and has since been detected in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, New York. , Kentucky, Mississippi, Minnesota, South. Dakota, Georgia and Florida.

The virus is extremely resistant to the environment and can be spread by direct contact between affected rabbits and indirectly by contaminated inanimate objects. Although RHDV2 does not infect species other than rabbits and hares, humans, dogs, rodents, and insects can spread the virus through external contamination.

Unlike other rabbits haemorrhagic virus, RHDV2 affects both domestic and wild rabbits.


Often, the only signs of illness are sudden death and blood-stained noses caused by internal bleeding. Infected rabbits may also have a fever, hesitate to eat, or show respiratory or nervous signs.

The cause of this outbreak is still under investigation. No rabbit imported into the state has been associated with this outbreak.

Since 2020, HDOA has increased surveillance of all rabbits imported into Hawaii from infected states and has required improved import requirements. Rabbits entering the state must receive a veterinary inspection certificate within 72 hours of arrival, inspected by HDOA livestock inspectors on arrival, and quarantined after the arrival. entry for 30 days.

The state veterinarian has approved the distribution and sale of the RHDV2 vaccine in Hawaii. Private vets in Hawaii have also been informed of the outbreak. Rabbit owners should discuss the need to vaccinate their rabbits for RHDV2 with their private veterinarians.

Protect your rabbits by practicing good biosecurity by taking daily measures to keep the virus away from your animals. USDA recommended biosafety practices include:

• Do not allow other rabbits to come in contact with your rabbits or enter the farm or home.

• Do not allow visitors to enter rabbits or allow them to handle pet rabbits without protective clothing (including overalls, shoe covers, hair coverings, and gloves).

• Always wash your hands with warm soapy water before entering the rabbit area, after removing protective clothing, and before leaving the rabbit area.

• Do not introduce new rabbits from unknown or trusted sources.

• Do not add rabbits to your rabbit from animal shelters or other rescue operations.

• If you bring rabbits outside to your home or facility, keep them separate from your existing rabbits for at least 30 days. Use separate equipment for newly acquired or sick rabbits to prevent the spread of disease.

• Sanitize all equipment and cages that are moved in or out of the facility before returning them to the rabbit. We recommend disinfecting with 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide mixed with water.

• Establish a working relationship with a veterinarian to review biosecurity practices for the identification and closure of potential gaps.

Hawaii has no populations of rabbits or wild hares. If this disease infected wild or loose rabbits, containment and eradication would be very difficult.

Occasionally, reports of loose domestic rabbits are received on properties in Hawaii. Hawaii state law requires that the owner and breeders contain rabbits and hares above ground. Violations can result in fines, jail time, or both.

Any owner or veterinarian experiencing unusual rabbit losses should contact the HDOA Animal Industry Division at (808) 483-7100 or (808) 837-8092.

More information about RHDV2 can be found on the USDA website by clicking here.

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