Killer virus leaves bunnies bleeding to death en masse — Analysis

Rabbits across multiple American states, both wild and domestic, are being plagued by a highly contagious virus that causes Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease – a condition that kills anywhere between 80% to 100% of all infected animals.

After a 3- to 9-day period of incubation, symptoms of the disease include fever, lethargy and weight loss.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the RHDV2 virus does not infect humans.

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It was discovered in America for the first time last year. The deadly pathogen has spread to 17 other states. New York City and Florida are the most recent victims.

New York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets (NASDA), has advised rabbit owners that they should contact their vets about vaccination. An inoculation campaign has also been launched in Florida, where authorities said they had given the green light to the “Use of USDA’s experimentally approved Medgene vaccination, which is designed to kill the US RHDV-2 strain.

Susan Kelleher from Deerfield Beach explained to WPTV on Tuesday that microchips are required for all Florida-vaccinated rabbits. A single shot of vaccine costs $60. The microchip adds $96 to the cost.

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