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Those wishing to receive all updates as soon as possible should go to www.egroups.com and subscribe to the list called vhd ; this will ensure that all current information arrives as soon as possible, and it is being posted as soon as it comes in.  My apologies if you have already received this email or are not interested.
 
Pamela Alley, RVT
Director, Rabbit Industry Council
 
From:              Dr. Nolan R. Hartwig, DVM

                  DEO, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
                  College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University


NEWS RELEASE – Friday, April 7, 2000

(Des Moines, IA)  The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, is investigating an acute viral disease affecting domestic rabbits.  Diagnostic work conducted at Iowa State University, and confirmed through the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Plum Island, has diagnosed the illness as Rabbit Calicivirus Disease.  The diagnosis has been further confirmed at a laboratory in Spain.  Rabbit Calicivirus Disease is not known to affect the United States and this case is being handled as a foreign animal disease introduction.

Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD), also known as Viral Hemorrhagic Disease of Rabbits, is a highly infectious viral disease that affects only domestic rabbits.   American cottontail and jack rabbits are not susceptible to infection.  Once this disease is introduced into a colony, it can spread rapidly, affecting up to 80% of the rabbitry and killing 90% or more of the rabbits becoming ill.  There is no treatment for the disease.  Rabbit Calicivirus Disease is not known to harm humans or other animals.

The single case being investigated involves a colony of domestic rabbits maintained as pets in Crawford County, Iowa.  The premises has been quarantined by state officials.

Rabbit Calicivirus was first reported in 1984 in the People’s Republic of China.  This disease has been reported in parts of Asia and Europe, including the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Italy, Korea, and Sprain.  The first report of the virus in the Western Hemisphere was in Mexico City in 1988.  Mexico was successful in eradicating the virus.

The disease can be transmitted by contact with infected rabbits, rabbit products, and contaminated objects. The incubation period for the disease is 24 to 48 hours.  Typically, rabbits die suddenly within 6 to 24 hours of the onset of fever with few clinical signs.  Most animals appear depressed or reluctant to move in the final hours and may show a variety of neurological signs.  Some affected rabbits may have a foamy nasal discharge.

Veterinarians and rabbit owners who suspect a rabbit may have Rabbit Calicivirus Disease should immediately contact State or Federal animal health officials.  For more information please contact State Veterinarian, John Schiltz DVM at 515-281-5305 or Kevin Petersburg DVM at the United States Department of Agriculture at 515-284-4140.


For more information contact:  Michael Kiernan at 515-281-7808, or Dr. Nolan R. Hartwig at 515-294-8790.



Denise L. Schwab
ISU Extension 4-H & Youth Development Specialist
Agriculture and Mechanical Sciences
33 Curtiss Hall,  ISU
Ames, Ia 50011
515-294-3187 or 319-398-1272
x1dschwa@exnet.iastate.edu

4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H 4H
Julie D. Hering
Youth Program Coordinator  -  Cass County Extension
1205 Sunnyside Lane, Atlantic IA 50022
Phone: (712)243-1132
Fax:  (712)243-1133
e-mail: x1hering@exnet.iastate.edu
 
ORIGINAL POSTING UPDATE (April 11, 2000)
 
Ok guys, here it is. I spoke with Oliver Williams of USDA APHIS Emergency
Services this morning, and we all should really appreciate his willingness
to spend over an hour on the telephone with me!

The LATEST and most accurate information is found at
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ep/RCD/index.html ; the following is
information given me in response to specific queries of the above kind
gentleman.

The herd was that of a youth girl (to whom our sympathies are extended!);
the rabbits were more pets than show animals due to time constraints and so
forth. There were four groups of animals; 3 in sets of hutches and a fourth
group running loose on the property. No comment was made as to the security
of the premises.

The free-roaming group was first to be affected; the other groups died in
turn. Contrary to hearsay, there were NO sores or lesions seen around the
eyes of these animals. On necropsy, the liver was seen to have a reticular
pattern; few had obvious gross lesions; kidneys may be swollen and/or
discolored. All in all, the presentation and case history, WITH THE
EXCEPTION OF SOURCE OF CONTAMINATION, was classic for RCD.

Samples were sent by the owner's veterinarian to Iowa's State laboratory;
further samples were then sent to USDA and from there to Spain for
confirmation by electron microscopy and polymerase chain reaction. Both of
these tests, where the virus is DIRECTLY ISOLATED, confirmed the undeniable
presence of the RCD virus. Serology was also positive, as was reinfection of
laboratory animals with liver homogenates from the affected animals. Virus
was apparently also reisolated from these animals, confirming by classic
method that the virus was the cause of death.

As to the name used, it IS a recognized term for the virus according to OIE,
which is the world organization that tracks emerging and infectious
diseases. USDA felt that they would like to avoid the term 'hemorrhagic' for
reasons of public impact and appearance.

Dr. Hayhow, ARBA President, has requested our input re use of a vaccine or
eradication/quarantine to confine/handle this disease. I have asked Oliver
Williams to get back to me on pros and cons of each.

Control and concerns for us? Biosecurity is of the GREATEST import, and he
could not stress that thinking ahead about what we do and plan to do is
EXTREMELY VITAL in controlling spread of this disease.

Consider that this virus is very sticky, and then consider practices at a
show. Carriers on the ground or floor? He suggested bringing along
newspapers from home, that you know where they've been, and setting carriers
on that. Don't handle anyone else's rabbits if you can help it, and
disinfect before handling another or your own. The carpeting on judging
tables is a definite problem at this time; replacing it with rubber matting
(my own opinion here) is far better disinfection wise. Repaint those wood
coops with a sealant and paint, and keep them CLEAN and disinfected.

Yes, this means a lot of changes that are not going to be easy for any of
us. But if we wish to contain this disease, and minimize its impact, WE have
to do it. Noone else will.

As for home, close your herds. No one in, no new rabbits. CLEAN those cages
for disinfection with 2% One-Stroke, but Steris Corporation in St. Louis MO,
10% household bleach, or Virkon disinfectant. CLEAN is ESSENTIAL before
disinfection can be really effective, since organics deactivate
disinfectants.

It is recommended by USDA that quarantine for ALL returning or incoming
stock be enforced NO MATTER WHAT, for at LEAST a full week's time. Rabbits
infected with RCD at greater than 8-12 weeks of age are extremely likely to
show symptoms within that time.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DO. This is the main push of USDA at this time. Learn
all you can about the virus, and think HARD about what you do that might
bring it in...and avoid those things or change your procedures to minimize
the likelihood of doing so.

Pat Lamar sent out the following email with good links to see:

It is of the utmost importance that all rabbit people be notified that an
outbreak of Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) HAS BEEN CONFIRMED in the state
of Iowa! Rabbit Calicivirus is also known as Viral Hemmorrhagic Disease
(VHD) and Rabbit Hemmorrhagic Disease (RHD).

The official announcement is at this USDA/APHIS web site at:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/cei/rabbitcal.htm

Further information on VHD/RCD/RHD may be obtained from the following web
sites:

ARBA at: http://www.arba.net/ Showbunny at: http://www.showbunny.com/ The
North American Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Web site at:
http://rnrq.sunset.net/VHDmain.htm VHD in the US - A Network for those
Concerned: http://www.kindplanet.org/vhd/vhd.html

Oliver Williams also stated that, in the case of animals that MIGHT be dead
due to RCD, you should contact your state veterinarian, and indeed, should
do so as soon as possible to collaborate on plans, just in case, so that you
can act quickly in the case of a possible death.

To find your state veterinarian, go to
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/vsoffice2.html

This is a listing of APHIS Veterinary Services Area Offices, and they will
direct you as needed.

He also emphasized that NOT EVERY DEATH is a death due to RCD; please read
the information in my previous post's links to get a good idea of the
progress and signs of the disease, so that you will know it if and when you
see it. The USDA is no keener on false reports than anyone else!

I am available for consultation at any time via email, RNRQ@cncnet.com . If
you truly think you might have a case, CALL THAT STATE VETERINARIAN!!!

Pamela Alley Registered Veterinary Technician Director, Rabbit Industry
Council Oroville, CA




Ok guys, here it is. I spoke with Oliver Williams of USDA APHIS Emergency
Services this morning, and we all should really appreciate his willingness
to spend over an hour on the telephone with me!

The LATEST and most accurate information is found at
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ep/RCD/index.html ; the following is
information given me in response to specific queries of the above kind
gentleman.

The herd was that of a youth girl (to whom our sympathies are extended!);
the rabbits were more pets than show animals due to time constraints and so
forth. There were four groups of animals; 3 in sets of hutches and a fourth
group running loose on the property. No comment was made as to the security
of the premises.

The free-roaming group was first to be affected; the other groups died in
turn. Contrary to hearsay, there were NO sores or lesions seen around the
eyes of these animals. On necropsy, the liver was seen to have a reticular
pattern; few had obvious gross lesions; kidneys may be swollen and/or
discolored. All in all, the presentation and case history, WITH THE
EXCEPTION OF SOURCE OF CONTAMINATION, was classic for RCD.

Samples were sent by the owner's veterinarian to Iowa's State laboratory;
further samples were then sent to USDA and from there to Spain for
confirmation by electron microscopy and polymerase chain reaction. Both of
these tests, where the virus is DIRECTLY ISOLATED, confirmed the undeniable
presence of the RCD virus. Serology was also positive, as was reinfection of
laboratory animals with liver homogenates from the affected animals. Virus
was apparently also reisolated from these animals, confirming by classic
method that the virus was the cause of death.

As to the name used, it IS a recognized term for the virus according to OIE,
which is the world organisation that tracks emerging and infectious
diseases. USDA felt that they would like to avoid the term 'hemorrhagic' for
reasons of public impact and appearance.

Dr. Hayhow, ARBA President, has requested our input re use of a vaccine or
eradication/quarantine to confine/handle this disease. I have asked Oliver
Williams to get back to me on pros and cons of each.

Control and concerns for us? Biosecurity is of the GREATEST import, and he
could not stress that thinking ahead about what we do and plan to do is
EXTREMELY VITAL in controlling spread of this disease.

Consider that this virus is very sticky, and then consider practices at a
show. Carriers on the ground or floor? He suggested bringing along
newspapers from home, that you know where they've been, and setting carriers
on that. Don't handle anyone else's rabbits if you can help it, and
disinfect before handling another or your own. The carpeting on judging
tables is a definite problem at this time; replacing it with rubber matting
(my own opinion here) is far better disinfection wise. Repaint those wood
coops with a sealant and paint, and keep them CLEAN and disinfected.

Yes, this means a lot of changes that are not going to be easy for any of
us. But if we wish to contain this disease, and minimize its impact, WE have
to do it. Noone else will.

As for home, close your herds. No one in, no new rabbits. CLEAN those cages
for disinfection with 2% One-Stroke, but Steris Corporation in St. Louis MO,
10% household bleach, or Virkon disinfectant. CLEAN is ESSENTIAL before
disinfection can be really effective, since organics deactivate
disinfectants.

It is recommended by USDA that quarantine for ALL returning or incoming
stock be enforced NO MATTER WHAT, for at LEAST a full week's time. Rabbits
infected with RCD at greater than 8-12 weeks of age are extremely likely to
show symptoms within that time.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DO. This is the main push of USDA at this time. Learn
all you can about the virus, and think HARD about what you do that might
bring it in...and avoid those things or change your procedures to minimize
the likelihood of doing so.

Pat Lamar sent out the following email with good links to see:

It is of the utmost importance that all rabbit people be notified that an
outbreak of Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) HAS BEEN CONFIRMED in the state
of Iowa! Rabbit Calicivirus is also known as Viral Hemmorrhagic Disease
(VHD) and Rabbit Hemmorrhagic Disease (RHD).

The official announcement is at this USDA/APHIS web site at:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/cei/rabbitcal.htm

Further information on VHD/RCD/RHD may be obtained from the following web
sites:

ARBA at: http://www.arba.net/ Showbunny at: http://www.showbunny.com/ The
North American Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Web site at:
http://rnrq.sunset.net/VHDmain.htm VHD in the US - A Network for those
Concerned: http://www.kindplanet.org/vhd/vhd.html

Oliver Williams also stated that, in the case of animals that MIGHT be dead
due to RCD, you should contact your state veterinarian, and indeed, should
do so as soon as possible to collaborate on plans, just in case, so that you
can act quickly in the case of a possible death.

To find your state veterinarian, go to
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/vsoffice2.html

This is a listing of APHIS Veterinary Services Area Offices, and they will
direct you as needed.

He also emphasized that NOT EVERY DEATH is a death due to RCD; please read
the information in my previous post's links to get a good idea of the
progress and signs of the disease, so that you will know it if and when you
see it. The USDA is no keener on false reports than anyone else!

I am available for consultation at any time via email, RNRQ@cncnet.com . If
you truly think you might have a case, CALL THAT STATE VETERINARIAN!!!

Pamela Alley Registered Veterinary Technician Director, Rabbit Industry
Council Oroville, CA




 

2001 National Rex Rabbit Club

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