Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Viral ‘Bunny Ebola’ Slams Rabbit Populations Throughout Southwestern U.S.

Viral ‘Bunny Ebola’ Slams Rabbit Populations Throughout Southwestern U.S.

Wildlife protection officials are now concerned about the ramifications for other animals dependent on the rabbits.

If COVID-19 and a bubonic plague scare weren’t enough disease drama for 2020, there are disturbing reports of a deadly wildlife disease sweeping through the American southwest.

A virus tagged as “bunny Ebola” is decimating the rabbit population.

Across seven states in the Southwest, thousands of wild and domestic rabbits are dying from a rare outbreak of a highly contagious disease known as rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV2).

“We refer to it as ‘bunny Ebola,'” Amanda Jones, a veterinarian from Killeen, Texas, told The Cut. While the rabbit virus is “not related in any way, shape, or form” to ebola — a virus that causes severe bleeding, organ failure, and death in humans and primates — Jones said RHDV2 ravages rabbit bodies in a similar manner.

The virus causes lesions in rabbits’ organs and tissues, which leads to internal bleeding and death. Often the only outward sign that the animals are infected comes after their death: After suddenly dropping dead, their noses leak bloody discharge.

The disease is more formally known as Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 or RHDV2. It doesn’t infect humans and is currently hitting southern California.

The disease has claimed the lives of at least six wild rabbits in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, according to Kirsten Macintyre, spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

However, limited testing resources mean that additional wild animals are usually not tested in counties once one infection has been identified, Macintyre said. There are exceptions if the wild animals are in an area with domestic rabbits, are a threatened or endangered species, or have other unusual circumstances that merit additional testing, she said.

“Accordingly, there are undoubtedly many more affected rabbits in those counties that are not tested,” she said.

It is believed that the virus jumped from domestic rabbits or farms into wild populations, and was first identified in New Mexico.

Anne Justice-Allen, a wildlife veterinarian with the Arizona game and fish department, has watched the disease bound across parts of her state, while also leaping into other places including Utah and Palm Springs, California.

Richards says the domesticated rabbits taken to shows or given out as Easter presents could be part of the spread. She points out that owners don’t often take their rabbits to the vet, making the disease hard to spot, and suspects the virus could be spreading when owners bury a dead rabbit at home. “And if a rabbit dies, they take it to their backyard and toss it out,” she says “Biting flies and insects could spread it mechanically from a carcass.”

The virus is incredibly persistent in the wild, studies show. It can survive for months, and carcasses have enough virus to transmit for more than 20 days, meaning anything visiting the carcass (predators, flies) can spread it easily. And it can withstand high heat – it’s still transmissible for several days even in 120F (49C), and can last for three months in dried feces.

While there is a vaccine for protection against the virus, it is an injection — meaning that it is impractical to use on wild populations. Wildlife protection officials are now expressing concerns about the ramifications for other animals dependent on the rabbits.

“A lot of the other predator mammals — your coyotes, foxes, bobcats some of your owls and hawks — can feed on rabbits. Snakes can feed on rabbits. There are a lot of species that rely on them,” [Colorado Parks and Wildlife Spokesman Jason] Clay said.

Because it is considered a foreign disease coming to North America from Europe he says both state and Federal wildlife officials will be monitoring the spread closely.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



This will cause a glitch in the Lotka–Volterra equations.

Are we going to have hear about every single animal and human virus now?



You know, I live in southern California, and legitimately about 2 weeks ago I randomly found a dead rabbit in my backyard. I just assumed that a hawk or one of the neighborhood cats got it, but maybe not?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Olinser. | July 17, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    One of the peaceful rioters along with killer bees got it.

    Remember the MSM killer bees story just last month….

Dusty Pitts | July 17, 2020 at 5:43 pm

From plague bats to murder hornets to ebola rabbits.

Is it just me or does 2020 seem to be in a rut?

Bunny needs a Planned Pathogen (PP) protocol. If symptomatic, avoid contact, and disinfect early. If asymptomatic, wash your hands, and avoid black holes… whores h/t NAACP.

Actually … this concerns me a little further into the future. You take a main food source of coyotes and they will move even further into suburban areas, hunting domesticated pets. I live in San Jose near the southern hills and during the drought
many local pet cats “disappeared”, becoming Coyote food. Small dogs are prey too and in one neighborhood a bold Coyote was threatening children (that one was dispatched.)

I wonder how far north this disease can come?

It’s only July. 2020 is really weird.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to B Buchanan. | July 17, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    I’m in the central Sierra foothills, and my indigenous yard guests include rabbits (cotton tail and jack), coyotes, bobcats, lions, etc. Its fun to make light of this, but remember Ebola, true Ebola, hits both humans and our primate “cousins”. People get West Nile virus disease as do other mammals; for years I have been inoculating my horses against W Nile (as well as rabies). Some diseases are not single species specific.

    Some rabbits are raised and sold for meat. People eat them. This bears watching.

    txvet2 in reply to B Buchanan. | July 17, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    Hopefully the coyotes will be vulnerable too. I could do with a lot fewer coyotes and foxes around here. I notice my bunnies have all disappeared lately, as have the jacks.

We have 2 indoor/outdoor cats who frequently (they are getting older so it doesn’t happen as much) bring what is left of little baby bunnies and baby birds to our back door.

I am not OK with that.

I once witnessed our cat, George, torture and kill a little bunny.

I have been less of a Cat Fan ever since.

    healthguyfsu in reply to franker. | July 18, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    That is a taste of the wild. Get used to it. Many mammal mothers will kill their children in times of excessive stress.

    Rape, murder, suicide, “bullying”, and other aversive human social constructs are part of regular life in the animal kingdom.

I’m thinking the next event to come out will be Godzilla attacking from the Left Coast.

I guess the states with this virus will have to mandate social distancing and wearing masks for the rabbits. If they fail to comply they are to be fined $2000 each incident they are caught.

But most importantly: hillary clinton is ahead by 91%.

We had EHD in our deer herd a few years ago. This stuff moves in and out. We’re all still here so far.
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, they literally bleed out of every orifice. We’d find the poor things in ponds, rivers or anywhere they could get to water.
Wisconsin tried to kill off every deer in a couple of counties due to Chronic Wasting Disease.
The following site has some dead deer pictures so you’re forewarned.
These 10 Diseases are Plaguing Whitetail Herds Nationwide

Be vewy, vewy quiet…..

This isn’t new. FOr example, Colorado gophers have had bubonic plague for at least decades. Hasn’t taken out the coyotes.