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Emergency Management Warning

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December 11, 2001

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Confirmed in a Captive Exotic Animal Facility in Flushing, New York

Two out of six rabbits on exhibit in the domestic animal section at a captive exotic animal facility were found dead on Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, 2001, respectively. Two additional rabbits were in an off exhibit area for a total of eight rabbits in the collection. This is not considered a zoonotic disease. Animals were necropsied by zoo pathologists and lesions consistent with rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) were found. Samples from the dead rabbits were sent to the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) on Plum Island, NY. Test results were positive by hemagglutination on one rabbit and negative on the other on Friday, December 7, 2001. A third exhibited rabbit died on Sunday, December 9, 2001.

The remaining rabbits were quarantined and isolated from other animals. The five remaining rabbits were euthanized on Monday, December 10, 2001, and additional samples will be sent to FADDL. Cleaning and disinfection of the area will be done.

>From the epidemiological data gathered so far, the source of the virus is unknown.

APHIS, Veterinary Services (VS), the State Department of Agriculture of New York, and facility managers are working together to address this situation. VS will assist the affected State in the depopulation and cleaning and disinfecting of the premises. VS will also investigate reports of suspect RHD as part of its foreign animal disease surveillance program and will continue to diagnose suspect cases at FADDL.

DNA Sequencing Results from the Utah/Illinois RHD Outbreak in August 2001

The sequence alignments were taken from the polymerase region of the RHDV genome. It showed distinct differences between the 3 isolates (Mexico, Korea, Utah) and the Iowa isolate. The sequence pair distance of the 3 isolates had percent similarities of over 95% while the Iowa isolate differed more from the others. The biggest difference was between the Iowa and the Utah isolates at 14.5%.

If you have any questions, please contact the USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, Emergency Programs staff at 301-734-8073, 800-940-6524, or .

Please forward this information to other Federal, State, and industry counterparts as necessary.

Emergency Management Issue is for information with no impact on APHIS
Emergency Management Notice is an ongoing incident with potential impact on APHIS
Emergency Management Warning is an ongoing incident with almost certain impact on APHIS

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