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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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NWDP - Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2)

Banner of Rabbits in the Wildlife
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) is a viral disease fatal to lagomorph species (rabbits, hares, and pikas). It does not affect humans or other animals. It was first detected in wild rabbit populations in the US in March 2020, the since that time, the NWDP has worked closely with Veterinary Services and diagnostic labs to track all wild lagomorph samples submitted for testing, report test results back to state wildlife agencies, and provide crucial data used in OIE reporting, disease mapping, and genetic sequencing

Affected Species

RHDV2 is a highly contagious disease caused by a strain of the RHD virus. RHDV2 can be spread by contact with infected rabbits, their meat or fur, or materials that infected rabbits have come in contact with. Many times, the only signs of the disease are sudden death and blood-stained noses caused by internal bleeding. In the US, the virus has spread to wild rabbit populations in at least 10 states since March 2020. 

Image of a researcher running test in a lab

Wild lagomorph species affected in the United States include:

  • Eastern cottontail
  • Desert cottontail
  • Mountain cottontail
  • Black-tailed jackrabbit
  • Antelope jackrabbit
  • Brush rabbit
  • Pygmy rabbit
  • Riparian brush rabbit

NWDP Activities

The National Wildlife Disease Program works closely with collaborators and other federal and state agencies to track and report the prevalence and spread of RHDV2 across the United States.

More Information

USDA APHIS 2020 Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease -- Affected Counties 

NWDP Coordinator

Julianna B. Lenoch, DVM, MPH
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine 
(970) 266-6350
USDA/APHIS/WS4101 Laporte Ave
Fort Collins, CO 80521

Avian Health | Chronic Wasting Disease | Bovine Tuberculosis | Feral Swine | Plague | RHDV2 | SARS-CoV-2 | SERS

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