NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Agriculture Department is stepping up measures to keep rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 out of the state. The virus is highly contagious and fatal to domestic rabbits, wild hares and pikas.
State Veterinarian Samantha Beaty issued an order this week prohibiting the importation of susceptible species from any area that is under quarantine for the disease. Additionally, any of those animals entering Tennessee from a state that has had a confirmed case of the virus within the past eight months must get a certificate of veterinary inspection within 72 hours.
The measures follow the recent detection of rabbit hemorrhagic disease in Arkansas.
“It’s critical that we take steps immediately to keep RHDV2 out of Tennessee,” Beaty said in a news release. “The virus is just beyond our border, creating a serious risk to the rabbits in our state.”
Sudden deaths of domesticated rabbits should be reported to the state veterinarian’s office immediately. Dead wild rabbits should be reported to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.