New Strain Of Rabbit Calicivirus Confirmed In New Zealand

May 15, 2018
476 Views

A new strain of the rabbit calicivirus has been confirmed in a single wild rabbit found on a Marlborough farm.
The strain – called RHDV2 – is widespread in Europe and Australia, but this is the first time it has been found in New Zealand, says MPI response manager John Brightwell.
“The virus affects rabbits and the European hare. It has no impact on human health or other animals, but we can’t rule out a potential risk to pet rabbits.

“We understand this will be worrying news for many rabbit owners, and we want to give people as many tools as possible to minimise the risk to their animals.

“As a precaution, we began work at the end of last month to import the latest vaccine for the strain from France. We expect the first 1,000 doses to be in the country next week and are working with importers to secure a long-term supply.

“There are also a number of practical steps people can take to minimise the risk to their pets. If you own rabbits, you should:

  • keep them separate from wild rabbits
  • wash hands between handling rabbits
  • control insects around pet rabbits as they can spread the virus between rabbits

“For any specific advice about your rabbit, talk to your vet.
“So far our testing programme has only identified a single wild rabbit but we know the virus spreads quickly. At this stage, we don’t yet know how widespread it is, or how long it has been in the country.

“We are working to answer both those questions but our key focus right now is to minimise the risk in front of us and support rabbit owners to take the right precautions, including making a vaccine available.

“Because of the difficulties involved in pinning down a virus, we may never know exactly how it came into New Zealand and where it came from. However, we know that the strain was not brought in from Australia because it is sufficiently different from the RHDV2 strain prevalent there.

“We can also rule out that the new strain came in with the RHDV1-K5 strain which was released nationwide in a planned rollout through March and April because of extensive testing at the time.”

You may be interested

Motorcyclist Dies In Crash On Tiwai Road
News, Southland
3947 views
News, Southland
3947 views

Motorcyclist Dies In Crash On Tiwai Road

Editor - Mar 19, 2019

One person has died after a crash on Tiwai Road, Tiwai Point, Invercargill. Police were called to the incident around…

Photos from Karting and Drags
Motor Sport, News
166 views
Motor Sport, News
166 views

Photos from Karting and Drags

Motor Hub - Mar 19, 2019

Kartsport Southland Club Spirit Champs Saturday March 16th. ( Next meeting is Club Day 7th April Free Admission for spectators…

Halal Butchers Offered Support After Mosque Attacks
Business, Farming
94 views
Business, Farming
94 views

Halal Butchers Offered Support After Mosque Attacks

News Desk - Mar 19, 2019

New Zealand meat companies have rushed to provide support to their halal butchers in the wake of the deadly attack…