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Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease type 2 case confirmed in Garfield County

A positive case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease type 2 was confirmed recently in a dead cottontail found in Garfield County, according to a news release from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The dead rabbit was found earlier in March just south of Silt, the release states.

“The cottontail was submitted to a CPW wildlife officer by a landowner whose dog had found the carcasses and brought them home over a period of a few weeks,” the release states.



Statewide surveillance for the disease has been ongoing since April 2020.

“Garfield and Saguache are new counties identified as having RHDV-2. The new discoveries mean that 15 Colorado counties have had positive tests for RHDV-2,” the release states.



Positive cases have been confirmed in Adams, Alamosa, Custer, Denver, El Paso, Elbert, Garfield, Huerfano, La Plata, Las Animas, Larimer, Mesa, Prowers, Pueblo, and Saguache counties.

Positive cases have been found in both cottontail and jackrabbit species.

“Until recently, RHDV-2 was not considered a virus that would infect North American cottontails or hares; however, cases have now been reported in numerous states in the Southwest region of the United States, including Colorado,” the release states.

“This virus has significant impacts on domestic rabbits as well as wild rabbits and species that prey upon them in Europe, giving some concern for predators like the Canada lynx that relies heavily on snowshoe hare for prey.”

The disease does not affect humans and other domestic species other than rabbits.

“However, multiple dead or sick rabbits can also be a sign of tularemia or plague, diseases that can cause serious illness in people,” the release states.

Suspected RHDV2 cases, such as observing three or more dead animals within a two-week period or animals exhibiting clinical signs of illness, should be reported to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.


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