Make your own free website on Tripod.com

From: To: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Subject: Update on RCD Date: Thursday, April 13, 2000 8:55 AM Hi all, Just a few minutes ago information I posted information to the ARBA web site which was faxed here this morning by Chris. A direct link to the USDA-APHIS web site has also been supplied from our site for any wishing to use it. We are sending the articles that were posted this morning in this email. You can view them on the ARBA site also. Dick =================================================== Rabbit Calicivirus Disease: Questions & Answers Q: What is rabbit calicivirus disease? A: Rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) is a highly infectious viral disease of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). This is the species from which all U.S. domestic and commercial rabbits are derived. American cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits are not susceptible to infection. Q: Does this disease affect people? A: No. Q: Does RCD affect other animals? A: It is not known to be harmful to other animals. Q: What are the clinical signs of RCD? A: Rabbits die suddenly within 6 to 24 hours of the onset of fever with few clinical signs. Fever may be as high as 105 "F, but often is not detected until rabbits show terminal clinical signs. RCD damages the liver, intestines, and lymphatic tissue and causes terminal blood clots. The death rate ranges from 50 to 100 percent. Q: Is there a treatment? A: No. Q: Is there a vaccine? A: No vaccine is legally available for use in the United States. Vaccines have been used in parts of the world where the disease occurs in wild rabbits. Vaccination will often reduce the number of rabbits dying from RCD, but will not eradicate the disease. Rabbits vaccinated against the disease may become infected but not show signs of disease, thereby allowing spread of the virus as a carrier. Q: How is RCD spread? A: RCD is highly contagious. Many virus particles are passed in the droppings of infected rabbits. The virus can then be spread on to the food of healthy rabbits, infecting them. The virus can also be spread by contact with rabbit products, rodents, and contaminated objects, such as cages, feeders, and clothing. Contaminated objects may be a source of spread if not cleaned and disinfected. Infected rabbits that recover may become carriers of the virus. Recovered rabbits can shed the virus for at least 4 weeks after recovery. Q: What precautionary measures can be taken to prevent RCD? A: To prevent the spread of the disease, breeders should prevent contact between healthy rabbits and infected rabbits and contaminated objects (e.g., cages, feeders, and clothing). Where the health status of a rabbit is unknown, it should be kept in mind that healthy looking rabbits can be in the early stage of disease and later spread the disease. Additionally, recovered rabbits appear healthy but can be carriers and spread the disease to other rabbits. Owners should be cautious and isolate new rabbits and rabbits returning from shows for at least 5 days. If rabbits were exposed to RCD, isolation may prevent the spread of the virus to other rabbits. Clinical disease will usually be noticeable within 48 hours of infection. Q: How should suspected cases of RCD be reported? A: Veterinarians and rabbit owners who suspect a rabbit may have RCD should immediately contact State or Federal animal health authorities. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- Rabbit Calicivirus Disease Rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) is a highly infectious viral disease of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). This is the species from which all U.S. domestic and commercial rabbits are derived. American cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits are not susceptible to infection. RCD is not known to harm humans or other animals. Once the disease is introduced into a rabbitry, it can spread rapidly, causing a high percentage of the rabbits to die. There is no treatment for the disease. Recent History In 1984, RCD (also known as viral hemorrhagic disease of rabbits) was reported for the first time in the People's Republic of China. Since then, RCD has been reported in parts of Asia and Europe, including the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Italy, Korea, and Spain. Investigations suggest the disease spread from country to country through shipments of contaminated rabbit meat and infected live rabbits. The first report of RCD in the Western Hemisphere came in December 1988, when the disease was detected in domestic rabbits in the Mexico City area. The outbreak was traced to a shipment of 18 metric tons of frozen rabbit carcasses from China that had been delivered to a supermarket chain outside Mexico City. In February 1989, the Mexican government began a control and eradication program that included quarantine of infected farms, prohibition of movement or sale of rabbits, voluntary destruction of diseased rabbits, and cleaning, disinfecting, and repopulating premises after a 2-month waiting period. The campaign was successful; there were no reported cases in 1992. Mexico is the only country to succeed in eradicating RCD. Clinical Signs RCD damages the liver, intestines, and lymphatic tissue and causes terminal massive blood clots. The incubation period is about 24 to 48 hours. Predominantly, young adult and adult rabbits die suddenly within 6 to 24 hours of the onset of fever with few clinical signs. Fever may be as high as 105 F (40.5 C) but often is not detected until rabbits show terminal clinical signs. Most animals appear depressed or reluctant to move in the final hours and may show a variety of neurologic signs, including excitement, incoordination, paddling, and opisthotonos (abnormal position of the head due to spasms of the muscles at the top and back of the neck). Some affected rabbits may have a foamy nasal discharge. The death rate for RCD ranges from 50 to 100 percent. How RCD Spreads RCD is caused by a highly contagious virus. The disease can be transmitted by contact with infected rabbits, rabbit products, rodents, and contaminated objects, such as cages, feeders, and clothing. The virus also may be carried short distances through moisture in the air. The risk of spread of RCD is higher when confined rabbits are in close contact with each other. Infected rabbits that recover may become carriers of the virus and may shed virus for at least 4 weeks. Impact of Disease Spread If RCD was to become established in the United States, it would have a significant impact on domestic rabbits in North America. Producers of domestic rabbits receive about $10 million each year from the sale of rabbit meat and pelts in the United States. The value of rabbits raised for research in the United States is about $15 million a year. This estimated value of $25 million a year does not take into account several factors. One factor is the impact on availability of rabbits for research and the production of medical diagnostic materials. Another factor not taken into account is the value, both monetary and emotional, of the pet and show rabbit industry. Disease Prevention To protect against introducing RCD into the U.S. rabbit population, owners and producers should avoid contact between their rabbits and imported rabbit meat, pelts, or other possibly contaminated objects from RCD-affected countries. To prevent the spread of the disease if it enters the United States, rabbit owners should prevent contact between healthy rabbits and infected rabbits and contaminated objects (e.g., cages, feeders, and clothing). Rabbits that appear healthy can be in the early stage of disease and later spread the disease. Recovered rabbits also appear healthy but can be carriers for at least 4 weeks and spread the disease to other rabbits. Owners should be cautious and isolate new rabbits and rabbits returning from shows for at least 5 days. If rabbits were exposed to RCD, isolation may help prevent spread to other rabbits. Clinical disease usually will be noticeable within 48 hours of infection. If RCD is suspected, to prevent spread of the virus, rabbit owners should clean and disinfect all equipment. After thorough cleaning, rabbit breeders should use one of the following disinfectant solutions on equipment to inactivate the virus: 2-percent 1-Stroke Environ (Steris Corporation, St. Louis, MO), 0.5-percent sodium hypochlorite, or 10-percent household bleach. Vaccine No vaccine is legally available for use in the United States. Vaccine has been used in other countries. Vaccination often reduces the number of rabbits dying from RCD, but will not eradicate the disease. Rabbits vaccinated against RCD may become infected but not show signs of disease, thereby allowing spread of the virus as a carrier. Report Possible Disease Veteriilarians and rabbit owners who suspect a rabbit may have RCD should immediately contact State or Federal animal health authorities. For more information, contact: U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services, Emergency Programs 4700 River Road, Unit 41 Riverdale, MD 20737-1231 Telephone: (301) 734-8073 Fax: (301) 734-7817

2001 National Rex Rabbit Club

Home | Directory | Links | Internet listing | Reading Room | Join the Club |