Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Clinical and pathologic findings in an outbreak in rabbits of natural infection by rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 in the northwestern United States.

Abstract

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2) causes an often-fatal disease of rabbits that has resulted in outbreaks in rabbitries in Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. RHD has historically been characterized as a foreign animal disease in the United States. In July 2019, RHDV2 was detected in rabbits on Orcas Island along the northwestern coast of Washington (WA) State following reports of deaths in multiple feral and domestic rabbits. We document and highlight here the unique clinical presentation and gross and histologic lesions observed in this recent WA outbreak. Affected rabbits died without premonitory signs or displayed hyporexia and/or lethargy for ≤1 d prior to death. The most consistent pathologic finding was random, multifocal hepatocellular necrosis, often with concurrent multifocal-to-diffuse splenic necrosis. The lack of significant clinical signs in conjunction with the random distribution of hepatic necrosis in the WA outbreak contrasts with previous reports of RHDV2 disease progression.