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The virus, which reportedly killed seven domestic rabbits last month, doesn't pose any threat to humans.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A highly contagious and lethal rabbit virus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2, was detected in Multnomah County last month.State officials say a highly contagious and lethal disease that affects rabbits has been detected in Multnomah County.

The virus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2), poses no risks to human health but can cause sudden death in rabbits and hares, officials with the Oregon Department of Agriculture said.

The agency received a report Tuesday, July 26, that seven of 21 domestic rabbits died over a 72-hour period, officials said, adding that a district veterinarian conducted an investigation.

Oregon State University's Veterinary Diagnosis Laboratory confirmed the disease two days later.

The owners of the affected rabbits reported that the rabbits were exposed to wild rabbits in the area, officials said. The property is under quarantine.

The virus was first identified in Oregon in a feral domestic rabbit colony in the Milwaukie area in March 2021, according to the ODA. Incidents of the virus have been detected 15 times in wild, feral and domestic rabbits across the state.

Rabbits have long been popular pets. Breeders and rabbit raisers recently attended a judged competition for the animal at the Multnomah County Fair. Officials didn't note any connection between the event and the infected rabbits.

The virus spreads quickly through direct contact between infected and susceptible live rabbits or contaminated materials such as carcasses, pelts, food, water and forage, officials said. It is resistant to extreme temperatures and can survive in the environment for months under certain conditions.

Birds, rodents, flies and other animals can spread the virus via their feet, fur/feathers or feces without becoming infected themselves.

Officials recommended people raising rabbits talk to their veterinarians about precautions, including elevating cages off the ground, keeping rabbits inside, not allowing domestic rabbits to graze where wild rabbits are present and washing and disinfecting materials that had contact with rabbits from different sources.

Hunters are being advised not to hunt, run dogs or fly falconry birds in areas where sick or dead rabbits are observed and to avoid hunting in areas where there's an RHDV2 outbreak.

People should immediately call the department of agriculture if they suspect the virus is present or have sick domestic rabbits or those who've recently died. Call 1-800-347-7028 or visit the ODA's website.

Anyone who finds a dead rabbit should wear disposable gloves of handling a carcass, double bag and spray the outside of a carcass bag with disinfectant, wash hands after handling a carcass and dispose of gloves in trash headed to a landfill.

To report the death of wild rabbits please contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife by calling 1-866-968-2600 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information, click here.


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