Health experts have warned that a destructive disease, which is often referred to as Rabbit Ebola has been discovered in Idaho for the first time. Idaho state officials have advised domestic rabbit owners to follow precautionary measures to keep their pets safe. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a lethal disease that easily transmits among rabbits, said the experts. However, it does not infect humans, livestock, or other species of pets. The officials have confirmed that two jackrabbits have been found dead near the Boise Airport. The animals have been found to be infected with RHD. The Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) in New York has conducted the test on dead animals. The animals have been sent for initial testing before being sent to the FADDL for verification. A veterinarian from Idaho State, Dr. Scott Leibsle has said that domestic rabbit owners need to reduce the interaction of their pets with wild rabbits, they need to disinfect their boots and coveralls and wash their hands before and after interacting with their rabbits. Experts have said that infected rabbits often show only one symptom of the disease, which is sudden death. Other common symptoms of the disease are bloody nose, dullness, and loss of appetite, said the experts.
Health officials have said that the RHD virus can live on clothing and corpses for months. The virus can easily spread via fleas, flies, and mosquitoes. Dr. Scott Leibsle has said that people should never handle a dead rabbit on their own if they find it in the wild. He has said that people should immediately call Idaho Fish & Games if they find a dead rabbit. The officials have said that if any domestic rabbit is suspected of being infected with the RHD virus, owners should immediately isolate the animal. Owners of infected domestic rabbits should directly inform their veterinary doctor and Idaho State Department of Agriculture. However, Dr. Scott Leibsle has said that if rabbits recover and survive the disease, they might be the potential carriers of the virus and can infect others as well. The animals who survive the disease are considered a potential risk for continued shedding and spread of the virus, said the experts.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has not issued any orders to euthanize the animals that are infected with the virus neither the officials have asked to cancel the rabbit show as of now. A vaccine for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is available in the US but it is not easy to get. This vaccine needs to be brought from Europe after obtaining permission from the federal regulators. Dr. Scott Leibsle has said that domestic rabbit owners who want to get their pets vaccinated should form a group, get in touch with a veterinarian, who is eager to try and import the vaccine. He has said that after this he can work with the veterinarian to obtain required permission from the authorities to import a bulk of shipment of vaccine to the state.