There is a lot of information out there about RHD. There is also a lot of speculation about the ongoing outbreak In Singapore. From the ZOOM Q&A we recently held, here’s the top 10 messages for you to have a quick understanding about the current situation.
1️⃣ Singapore is affected by RHDV-2 which shares the same genetic make as RHDV-1 that first appeared in China. RHDV-2 is also affecting USA, UK and Australia now.
2️⃣ RHDV-2 is not zoonotic. This means it only affects rabbits and will not spread to humans or other animals.
3️⃣ RHDV-2 Is highly contagious and can be spread by the faeces of infected rabbits, contaminated food, infected insects and fomites (human, animals or material in contact with virus).
4️⃣ Signs of RHDV-2 includes persistent fever >40C, appetite loss, lethargy, neurological disorders, respiratory difficulties, bleeding, anaemia, jaundice and sudden death.
5️⃣ The incubation period for RHDV-2 is 3-9 days and the mortality rate is 80-90%. Survivors can continue to shed virus for 2-3 months after recovery.
6️⃣ There is no cure for RHDV-2 and no country has been able to completely eradicate it. Vaccination and quarantine are the keys to control an outbreak.
7️⃣ In Singapore, the outbreak source is unknown. AVS is investigating but owners need to take strict measures against the spread and practicing social distancing.
8️⃣ Singapore is in the process of obtaining vaccines but it is not available now. It has to be given annually starting at 10 weeks old. A vaccine is not 100% protective but will confer immunity and result in less fatalities.
9️⃣ Owners should keep their rabbits indoor. Going out to breeding farms, pet shops, vet clinics, grooming/boarding facilities and pet gatherings will increase your risk of exposure.
If you suspect contact with infected rabbits, you can disinfect with virucidal disinfectants such as bleach or Virkon. Follow guidelines especially the length of contact time to ensure effective disinfecting.
The risk of an indoor rabbit catching RHDV-2 is very low if the owner do not bring their pets out unnecessarily or interact with pets other than their own. We hope the above information can guide owners to take proper measures and be responsible to themselves, their pets, and their community.
Stay safe, everybun.