Home » Virus That Attacks Wild And Domestic Rabbits Detected In California

Virus That Attacks Wild And Domestic Rabbits Detected In California


A virus that kills rabbits has reached California, officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2, or RHDV2, was found in a deceased riparian brush rabbit at the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge in late-May. The riparian brush rabbit is endangered and closely monitored by wildlife agencies.

“This is a discovery we hoped would never occur,” said CDFW Senior Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Deana Clifford. The vet said they had planned for the virus’ arrival with a proactive vaccination effort, but that “we
are in the very early stages of understanding the impacts to the species now that RHDV2 has arrived at the refuge.”

A multi-partner team has been busily vaccinating the rabbits at the refuge and have vaxxed 638 of the little lagomorphs since August of 2020, the CDFW said. They said that live rabbits have been found elsewhere in the state where the virus has been present since 2020, which has given biologists some hope that some rabbits are surviving infection. The ultimate goal is similar to that of any pandemic– rabbits reaching herd immunity. Or in this case, fluffle immunity, as a “fluffle” is what a group of wild rabbits is called.


The vaccination efforts are part of a larger conservation effort to restore habitat and recover the population of the riparian brush rabbits.

Riparian brush rabbits are found in small patches of remaining riparian forest and shrub habitat in the northern portion of the San Joaquin Valley and in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “Riparian” means located on the banks of a river.

RHDV2 was first observed in wild rabbits in the southwestern U.S. in March of 2020, experts say. Since then it has spread rapidly to other states. In California, the virus has been found in Alameda, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Benito and San Diego Counties. Cases in domestic rabbits have been found in Fresno, Sonoma, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.

The public can assist by reporting any sick or dead wild rabbits to the CDFW, as veterinarians continue to monitor the situation. They can be reached at (916) 358-2790. An online mortality report can also be filed at the CDFW website. The site also has a lot of information about the virus and strategies to prevent its spread. Go to



BOOYAH! June 16, 2022 - 10:26 AM - 10:26 AM

Mandatory masks for all rabbits!!

...---... June 16, 2022 - 10:56 AM - 10:56 AM

Here we go again.
All rabbits must conform and get in line for the vax.
The will be no exceptions for religious reasons or otherwise.
If they fail to get vaxed , the rest of the population will be allowed to demonize the unvaxed to feel guilty for those that were infected.
Sorry if you get the vax and still get infected.
Get back in line for another vax.

Ricardoh June 16, 2022 - 11:42 AM - 11:42 AM

There are millions of viruses that come from space that hit the earth everyday. So either one of them stuck or someone is screwing around in a lab someplace. Funny how it went from wild rabbits to rabbits in cages. Has to be blowing in the wind. Got to look that up.

nytemuvr June 16, 2022 - 12:43 PM - 12:43 PM

@Ricardoh….”The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind….”-Robert Zimmerman

Concerned Citizen June 16, 2022 - 11:54 AM - 11:54 AM

We need to lock the country down again.

This could get out of control.

T-rex June 16, 2022 - 12:57 PM - 12:57 PM

Glad I’m not a rabbit then.

Old Timer June 16, 2022 - 12:52 PM - 12:52 PM

That Wescley Wabbit.

Dawg June 16, 2022 - 1:52 PM - 1:52 PM

Not to worry, they each have four lucky rabbits foot.

Martinezmike June 16, 2022 - 3:42 PM - 3:42 PM

That doesn’t take care of their un-hoppyness

Badge1104 June 16, 2022 - 6:51 PM - 6:51 PM

Watch out, they can pick up everything we say because they have rabbit ears.

Old Otis June 16, 2022 - 2:53 PM - 2:53 PM

Rabbit POX?
Time to LOCK DOWN the country again !!!

Dr Jellyfinger June 16, 2022 - 3:59 PM - 3:59 PM

When I was younger I used to hunt rabbits on Grizzly Island.
One time I got very ill a day after returning from a hunt there. I had skinned a rabbit and got alot of mosquito bites too, but I’m not sure which made me ill. Doctors could only say it was some kind of virus.
I burned up with a 103 degree fever for 3 days…. thought I was gonna die.
It was a week before I fully recovered.
I took the rabbit meat from the freezer & tossed it to be on the safe side.
I quit rabbit hunting after that.

Ricardoh June 17, 2022 - 9:48 AM - 9:48 AM

Rabbits have some kind of boil condition in the summertime. I think you only hunt them in winter. I never hunted them but that is what I remember hearing.

Captain Bebops June 16, 2022 - 4:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Night of the Lepus?

nytemuvr June 16, 2022 - 5:54 PM - 5:54 PM

There used to be a rabbit farm on San Miguel Rd., it had a sign that read “For pets or food”. There used to be a lot of rabbit farms all over CCC in the 50s/60s. We used to sell rabbit meat in the grocery stores then too.

S June 17, 2022 - 4:32 PM - 4:32 PM

If there are any fans here:

Keeping Up Appearances (TV Series)
A Riverside Picnic (1995)

This article has to make you giggle….

Probablyzombies June 18, 2022 - 11:15 AM - 11:15 AM

And this is how the zombie apocalypse started

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