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rabbit haemorrhagic disease

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rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • rabbit haemorrhagic disease
  • Overview
  • Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a highly contagious and acute fatal hepatitis of wild and domestic European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), caused by a calicivirus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV)...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
VHD-infected rabbit with terminal serosanguinous nasal discharge.
TitleExternal symptoms
CaptionVHD-infected rabbit with terminal serosanguinous nasal discharge.
Copyright©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
VHD-infected rabbit with terminal serosanguinous nasal discharge.
External symptomsVHD-infected rabbit with terminal serosanguinous nasal discharge.©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Liver from a VHD-infected rabbit. Note the diffuse fine reticular pattern of hepatic necrosis.
TitlePathology
CaptionLiver from a VHD-infected rabbit. Note the diffuse fine reticular pattern of hepatic necrosis.
Copyright©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Liver from a VHD-infected rabbit. Note the diffuse fine reticular pattern of hepatic necrosis.
PathologyLiver from a VHD-infected rabbit. Note the diffuse fine reticular pattern of hepatic necrosis.©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Lungs from a VHD-infected rabbit. The lungs are oedematous, congested, and have multiple haemorrhages.
TitlePathology
CaptionLungs from a VHD-infected rabbit. The lungs are oedematous, congested, and have multiple haemorrhages.
Copyright©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Lungs from a VHD-infected rabbit. The lungs are oedematous, congested, and have multiple haemorrhages.
PathologyLungs from a VHD-infected rabbit. The lungs are oedematous, congested, and have multiple haemorrhages.©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Overview

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Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a highly contagious and acute fatal hepatitis of wild and domestic European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), caused by a calicivirus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) (reviewed by Abrantes et al., 2012).

RHD was first noticed in China in 1984 within a group of commercially-bred Angora rabbits imported from Germany (Liu et al., 1984). In less than a year, RHD killed 140 million domestic rabbits in China (Liu et al., 1984; Xu, 1991). The virus rapidly spread worldwide and is now endemic in many parts of the world where European rabbits live naturally or are domesticated.

RHD causes important economic losses in the rabbit meat and fur industry and has a significant negative ecological impact among wild rabbit populations and indirectly on its dependant predators (Mitro and Krauss, 1993; Abrantes et al., 2012).

In Australia and New Zealand where rabbits are pests, RHDV was purposely introduced for rabbit biocontrol (Cooke and Fenner, 2002).

Up to 2010, all RHDV isolated belonged to one of six identified genotypes (GI–GVI), among which the GVI is an antigenic subtype (RHDVa). In 2010, an additional RHDV was identified in France; the virus is phylogenetically and antigenically distinct from “classical RHDV” and provisionally called RHDV2 or RHDVb (Le Gall-Reculé et al., 2011). RHDV2 results in atypical RHD outbreaks, with mortality in both vaccinated adult rabbits (Le Gall-Reculé et al., 2011) and rabbits younger than two months (Dalton et al., 2012, 2014) that are typically resistant to RHDV. RHDV2 has spread in Europe, and was also found in Australia in 2015 (Hall et al., 2015).

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is on the list of diseases notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The distribution section contains data from OIE's WAHID database on disease occurrence. For more information, see the website: www.oie.int

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Oryctolagus cuniculus (rabbits)Domesticated host, Wild host

Hosts/Species Affected

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“Classical” RHDV and RHDVa only cause disease in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). RHDV2 is able to cause an RHD-like disease in two hare species: Cape hare (Lepus capensis mediterraneus) (Puggioni et al., 2013) and Italian hare (Lepus corsicanus) (Camarda et al., 2014).

Distribution

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Classical RHDV, including genogroups G1-G5, first recorded in China in 1984 (Liu et al., 1984) has been reported in Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania and is endemic in most parts of the world where European rabbits live naturally or are domesticated. Subtype RHDVa/G6 identified in Europe in 1996 (Capucci et al., 1998; Schirrmeier et al., 1999) has been reported in Oceania, Asia and Americas. A “new” RHDV (provisionally called RHDV2 or RHDVb) emerged in France in 2010 in wild and farmed vaccinated rabbits (Dalton et al., 2012; Le Gall-Reculé et al., 2013) then spread in Europe, and was reported in Australia in 2015 (Hall et al., 2015).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BotswanaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
Cabo VerdePresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
Central African RepublicAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Congo, Democratic Republic of theAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Côte d'IvoireAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
DjiboutiAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
EgyptPresentOIE (2009)
KenyaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
LesothoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
MadagascarAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
MauritiusAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
MozambiqueAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
São Tomé and PríncipeAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
SeychellesAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
South AfricaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
SudanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
TunisiaPresentOIE (2009)
ZimbabweAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)

Asia

AzerbaijanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BahrainAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BangladeshAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BruneiAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
ChinaPresent, LocalizedOIE (2009)
GeorgiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
IndiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
IranAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
IsraelAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
JapanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
KazakhstanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
KuwaitAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
KyrgyzstanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
LaosAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
LebanonAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
-Peninsular MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
-SabahAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
-SarawakAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
North KoreaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
Saudi ArabiaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)OIE (2009)
SingaporeAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
Sri LankaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
TajikistanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
ThailandAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
TurkmenistanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
UzbekistanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
VietnamAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)

Europe

AndorraPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
BelarusAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BelgiumAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
Bosnia and HerzegovinaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
BulgariaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
CroatiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
CyprusPresentOIE (2009)
CzechiaPresentOIE (2009)
DenmarkAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
EstoniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
FinlandAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
FrancePresentGall-Reculé et al. (2011)
GermanyAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
GreeceAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
HungaryPresent, LocalizedOIE (2009)
IcelandAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
ItalyPresentOIE (2009)
JerseyPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
LatviaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
LiechtensteinAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
LithuaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
LuxembourgPresentOIE (2009)
MaltaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
MontenegroAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
NetherlandsPresentIjzer et al. (2016)
NorwayAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
PolandAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
PortugalPresentOIE (2009)
RomaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
RussiaPresent, LocalizedOIE (2009)
SerbiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
SlovakiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
SloveniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
SpainPresent, LocalizedOIE (2009)
SwedenPresentOIE (2009)
SwitzerlandPresentOIE (2009)
UkraineAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
United KingdomPresentWestcott and Choudhury (2015)

North America

BarbadosAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
BelizeAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BermudaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
British Virgin IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
CanadaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
Cayman IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Costa RicaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
CubaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
CuraçaoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
DominicaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Dominican RepublicAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
El SalvadorAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
GreenlandAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
GuatemalaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
HaitiAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
MexicoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
NicaraguaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
Saint Kitts and NevisAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Trinidad and TobagoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
United StatesAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)

Oceania

AustraliaPresentOIE (2009)
French PolynesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
New CaledoniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
New ZealandPresentOIE (2009)
SamoaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
VanuatuAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)

South America

ArgentinaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BoliviaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
BrazilAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
ChileAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
ColombiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
EcuadorAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
Falkland IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
French GuianaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
GuyanaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
ParaguayAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
PeruAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
UruguayAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)
VenezuelaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE (2009)

Pathology

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The liver, lung and spleen are the primary target tissues of RHDV. The major histopathological lesions are acute hepatitis and splenomegaly (Park et al., 1995; Alonso et al., 1998). Haemorrhages and congestions can be seen in several organs, particularly in the lungs, heart and kidneys, as a result of a massive disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) which is usually the cause of death (Ueda et al., 1992).

Disease Course

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(From: OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals, 2016)

RHD is characterised by high morbidity and a mortality of 70–90% for RHDV/RHDVa and 5-70% for RHDV2. Infection mainly occurs by the oral route. In wild rabbits in particular, insects are considered an important route of infection or transmission, and are often the source of long-distance spread. The incubation period of RHD varies from 1 to 3 days, and death usually occurs 12-36 hours after the onset of fever. The main clinical manifestations of the acute infection are nervous and respiratory signs, apathy and anorexia. In rabbits younger than 4-6 weeks, the RHDV/RHDVa infection course is subclinical, but when the causative agent is RHDV2, clinical signs and mortality are observed even in young animals from 15 to 20 days of age onwards.

References

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Abrantes J; Loo Wvan der; Pendu Jle; Esteves PJ, 2012. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) and rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV): a review. Veterinary Research, 43(12):(10 February 2012). http://www.veterinaryresearch.org/content/pdf/1297-9716-43-12.pdf

Alonso C; Oviedo JM; Martín-Alonso JM; Díaz E; Boga JA; Parra F, 1998. Programmed cell death in the pathogenesis of rabbit hemorrhagic disease. Archives of Virology, 143(2):321-332.

Boucher S, 2015. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV2): epidemiology, clinical aspects, lesions and prevention. (La maladie hémorragique virale à RHVD2 chez le lapin: épidémiologie, clinique, lésions et préventions.) Le Nouveau Praticien Vétérinaire Élevages et Santé, No.31:55-60. http://neva.fr/

Calvete C; Estrada R; Lucientes J; Osacar JJ; Villafuerte R, 2004. Effects of vaccination against viral haemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis on long-term mortality rates of European wild rabbits. Veterinary Record, 155(13):388-392.

Camarda A; Pugliese N; Cavadini P; Circella E; Capucci L; Caroli A; Legretto M; Mallia E; Lavazza A, 2014. Detection of the new emerging rabbit haemorrhagic disease type 2 virus (RHDV2) in Sicily from rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Italian hare (Lepus corsicanus). Research in Veterinary Science, 97(3):642-645. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00345288

Capucci L; Fallacara F; Grazioli S; Lavazza A; Pacciarini ML; Brocchi E, 1998. A further step in the evolution of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus: the appearance of the first consistent antigenic variant. Virus Research, 58(1/2):115-126.

Cooke BD; Fenner F, 2002. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease and the biological control of wild rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, in Australia and New Zealand. Wildlife Research, 29(6):689-706.

Dalton KP; Nicieza I; Abrantes J; Esteves PJ; Parra F, 2014. Spread of new variant RHDV in domestic rabbits on the Iberian Peninsula. Veterinary Microbiology, 169(1/2):67-73. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03781135

Dalton KP; Nicieza I; Balseiro A; Muguerza MA; Rosell JM; Casais R; Álvarez ÁL; Parra F, 2012. Variant rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus in young rabbits, Spain. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 18(12):2009-2012. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/12/pdfs/12-0341.pdf

Gall-Reculé Gle; Lavazza A; Marchandeau S; Bertagnoli S; Zwingelstein F; Cavadini P; Martinelli N; Lombardi G; Guérin JL; Lemaitre E; Decors A; Boucher S; Normand Ble; Capucci L, 2013. Emergence of a new lagovirus related to rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus. Veterinary Research, 44(81):(8 September 2013). http://www.veterinaryresearch.org/content/44/1/81/abstract

Gall-Reculé Gle; Zwingelstein F; Boucher S; Normand Ble; Plassiart G; Portejoie Y; Decors A; Bertagnoli S; Guérin JL; Marchandeau S, 2011. . http://veterinaryrecord.bvapublications.com/archive/

Hall RN; Mahar JE; Haboury S; Stevens V; Holmes EC; Strive T, 2015. . http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/21/12/pdfs/15-1210.pdf

Huang HB, 1991. Vaccination against and immune response to viral haemorrhagic disease of rabbits: a review of research in the People's Republic of China. Revue Scientifique et Technique - Office International des Épizooties, 10(2):481-498.

Ijzer J; Zeeland YRAvan; Montizaan MGE; Egberink HF; König P; Geijlswijk IMvan, 2016. Introduction of a new virus type in the Netherlands in 2015. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2): [outbreak] amongst the rabbits. (Introductie van een nieuw type virus in Nederland in 2015. Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2): bij de konijnen af.) Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde, 141(3):24-29. http://www.knmvd.nl

Liu SJ; Xue HP; Pu BQ; Qian NH, 1984. A new viral disease in rabbits. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine (Xumu yu Shouyi), 16(6):253-255.

Mitro S; Krauss H, 1993. Rabbit hemorrhagic disease: a review with special reference to its epizootiology. European Journal of Epidemiology, 9(1):70-78.

OIE Handistatus, 2002. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2001). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.

OIE Handistatus, 2003. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2002). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.

OIE Handistatus, 2004. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (data set for 2003). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.

OIE Handistatus, 2005. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (data set for 2004). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.

OIE, 2009. World Animal Health Information Database - Version: 1.4. World Animal Health Information Database. Paris, France: World Organisation for Animal Health. http://www.oie.int

Park JH; Lee YongSoon; Itakura C, 1995. Pathogenesis of acute necrotic hepatitis in rabbit hemorrhagic disease. Laboratory Animal Science, 45(4):445-449.

Puggioni G; Cavadini P; Maestrale C; Scivoli R; Botti G; Ligios C; Gall-Reculé Gle; Lavazza A; Capucci L, 2013. The new French 2010 Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus causes an RHD-like disease in the Sardinian Cape hare (Lepus capensis mediterraneus). Veterinary Research, 44(96):(7 October 2013). http://www.veterinaryresearch.org/content/pdf/1297-9716-44-96.pdf

Schirrmeier H; Reimann I; Köllner B; Granzow H, 1999. Pathogenic, antigenic and molecular properties of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) isolated from vaccinated rabbits: detection and characterization of antigenic variants. Archives of Virology, 144(4):719-735.

Smíd B; Valícek L; Rodák L; Stepánek J; Jurák E, 1991. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: an investigation of some properties of the virus and evaluation of an inactivated vaccine. Veterinary Microbiology, 26(1/2):77-85.

Ueda K; Park JH; Ochiai K; Itakura C, 1992. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in rabbit haemorrhagic disease. Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research, 40(4):133-141.

Westcott DG; Choudhury B, 2015. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus-2-like variant in Great Britain. Veterinary Record, 176(3):74. http://veterinaryrecord.bvapublications.com/archive/

Xu WY, 1991. Viral haemorrhagic disease of rabbits in the People's Republic of China: epidemiology and virus characterisation. Revue Scientifique et Technique - Office International des Épizooties, 10(2):393-408.

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