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January 12, 2023

A new variant called RHDV2 emerged in Europe in 2010, and has spread widely among domesticated and wild rabbits,  RHDV2 affects animals vaccinated against older RHD viruses, as well as unvaccinated rabbits.   It was unknown if the virus would affect any wild North American lagomorphs...

Before the cases in New Mexico this Spring, American wildlife species such as the cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) and black-tail jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) were thought not to be susceptible to the virus, according to the USDA.  But when the dead rabbits across the southwest were confirmed to be infected with RHD2 virus, this represents a major shift in how rabbit owners need to approach biosecurity.

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