RHD: Often the typical bleeding from the nose is missing. But inside you can find it . (Photo: ©Montage WiSiTiA/Henrik Hofmann)
A central registration of the RHD spreading does not exist any more, since the obligation to register has expired. But it is clear: the rabbit disease is spreading rapidly. The RHDV-2 variant is of particular concern to pet owners, as existing vaccines provide only limited protection – an update.
by Henrik Hofmann
"30 wild rabbits suddenly found dead on the meadow" – "Within the last few days many young and old animals in the herd died without previous symptoms" – this, or something similar, was the title of many preliminary reports on rabbits that were handed in to the CVUA Karlsruhe and other institutions with the request to clarify the cause of death.
Report of findings of a current RHD case
"Especially in the case of domestic and breeding rabbits, owners were baffled when their fully and regularly vaccinated animals suddenly died under their hands without much apparent symptomatology," report colleagues. Only in one single case the bleeding from the nose (which gives the disease its name) had been observed.
FLI confirms spread throughout Germany
Meanwhile, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) has confirmed the nationwide spread of the RHD-2 variant. Vaccines currently licensed in Germany provide efficient protection against RHDV, but only limited protection against RHDV-2, FLI writes. In order to obtain maximum vaccination protection, the current vaccination recommendations of the Standing Commission on Vaccination in Veterinary Medicine (StIKo Vet) should be followed (see below – details about the vaccination recommendation and the sp
Europe-wide approval of RHDV-2 vaccine expected – by exception already usable in Germany
StIKO Vet: Vaccinate rabbits against RHDV-2 as early as possible
New RHD-2 virus on the rise
Interactive maps show spread only "rudimentarily
The FLI has published maps with markers of registered RHDV-2 outbreaks. However, they reflect the actual spread only rudimentarily, because only the cases diagnosed at the FLI are shown. Samples are regularly sent in from some federal states / from certain testing facilities; other regions are rather underrepresented. A central registration of the RHDV findings does not exist any more since the expiration of the obligation to report.
In addition, rabbit conservationists have Lists and interactive maps which give an overview of reported RHD cases. The quality of this data cannot be assessed by the editors – however, the true extent of the spread of the disease is likely to be greater than shown here as well.
Vaccinate without fail
First vaccines with provisional marketing authorization against the new variant are available in France and Spain. These vaccines induce antibodies that react to both variants, but more strongly to RHDV-2 than to classical RHDV. Whether this cross-reactivity is sufficient to confer protection also against the classical RHDV strains is currently unknown. When importing these vaccines, it is essential to observe the applicable legal regulations! The vaccines approved in Germany protect efficiently against RHDV but only to a limited extent againstRHDV-2.