Wild Rabbits in Texas Face New Lethal Virus

Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) has recently announced the presence of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Serotype 2, in wild rabbits in Texas.  This is a relatively new virus and is almost always lethal to wild and domestic rabbits.  It only infects rabbits and it is not a threat to humans or pets other than rabbits.  The first North American case was seen on Vancouver Island in 2018-19. It has spread rapidly since with cases in Washington and California and now Arizona, New Mexico and Texas have reported cases in 2020.  Cases in central Texas and Ohio have been reported in domestic rabbits. The virus is very hardy and it has been found viable for at least 90 days outdoors.

You may wonder why worry about rabbits?!  The rest of the story is that a sudden crash in the population of a prey animal such as the rabbit can be catastrophic for predator and non-predator species.  You can help!   If you find a dead wild or feral rabbit contact your local TPWD wildlife biologist to determine if the animal needs further examination.   Again, while this is a threat to rabbits only, it is a significant threat to the part that rabbits play in the environment.

Fort Bend County’s TPWD Wildlife Biologist is Clinton Faas and he can be reached at 832-595-8999 or clinton.faas@tpwd.texas.gov

For more information, check out this link:

“Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Confirmed in Texas, Die-Offs Reported”  a news release on April 20, 2020 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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