Game and Fish Dept. bracing for spread of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease – Gillette News Record

SHERIDAN — Pandemics are, unfortunately, not unique to the human species.

Just as COVID-19 was spreading through the United States this spring, another deadly disease began spreading through the country’s wild rabbit population.

“What is interesting is that the Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 was first identified back in 2018 in domestic rabbits,” said Peach Van Wick, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s assistant state wildlife veterinarian. “We didn’t hear about it for a while after that, and then in April of last year it showed up in the wild rabbit population in New Mexico. So, while there are a lot of ways it can be spread, we don’t know exactly how the spillover event happened and how it showed up in the wild rabbit population in the western United States.”

On April 2, 2020, animal health authorities confirmed the disease in one
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