The appearance of a new, fatal serotype of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus in the southwestern U.S. has animal health officials in Missouri concerned, even without positive cases appearing in Missouri or any neighboring state. State Veterinarian Doctor Steve Strubberg tells Regional Radio that rabbits entering Missouri may need paperwork certifying that they do not carry the virus.

Both domestic and wild rabbits can be affected by the virus. Strubberg says if you come across a rabbit carcass to handle it with care and protective gear.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus cannot affect humans, but can survive on surfaces for weeks after exposure. Missouri State Veterinarian Doctor Steve Strubberg advises rabbit handlers to not mix bedding or feed. They should disinfect cages, tools and other surfaces that come into contact with rabbits. Additional details about RHDV are available on the Missouri Department of Agriculture website.