Rabbits at a home in Greenville County have been diagnosed with a hemorrhagic virus that has never been seen before in South Carolina.

According to data released by Clemson University, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type-2 (RHDV2) poses no risk to humans, but has a high mortality rate among domestic and wild rabbits.

The Clemson Veterinary Center tested the rabbits in a Columbia lab. An alert has been issued for the problem after several wild rabbits suddenly died at a location in Greenville County. The remaining rabbits in the area have been isolated to avoid further spread.


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The mortality rate for infected rabbits is about 70 percent, according to state veterinarian and director of livestock health at Clemson, Michael Niallt.

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“Our goal at this point is to prevent the virus from spreading into the wild rabbit population and further infecting domestic rabbits,” Nelt said in the release.


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The virus is endemic in the western US, and symptoms can include sudden death, anorexia, fatigue, and blood around the nose and mouth. More information about the virus is available at www.clemson.edu/public/lph/ahp/species/rabbit.html. The RHDV2 test cannot be performed on live rabbits.

Rabbit owners who suspect the virus are advised to contact a veterinarian. For issues related to wild rabbits, contact the state Department of Natural Resources at 803-734-3940 or hookm@dnr.sc.gov.


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