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August 23, 2001

APHIS Emerency Services Update

Background Information:

On August 17, 2001, USDA's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) confirmed rabbit calicivirus disease based on hemagglutination tests and electron microscopy from a rabbitry in Utah county, Utah.

The rabbitry of approximately 900 rabbits is still under quarantine and trace outs are complete. There were only three rabbit movements: 3 rabbits to a Yellowstone County, MT, premises; 72 rabbits to a Mercer County, IL, premises; and 3 rabbits to another premises in Utah. These premises are under quarantine as well.

The Yellowstone County, MT, premises rabbit tracing found that two other rabbits from this Montana premises (but not the Utah origin rabbits), while in route to a truck for slaughter, were co-mingled with rabbits that were on their way to the Montana State Fair.

These 2 Montana premises rabbits were then placed on a truck carrying 3,600 rabbits in route to California through Idaho.

Utah update:

Depopulation of the both herds will be done. No clinical disease has been seen on the second Utah premises.

The Utah State Veterinarian has canceled all rabbit shows until the outbreak has concluded.

Montana Update:

The 3 rabbits brought from the infected premises in Utah were euthanized, and samples taken. The euthanized rabbits were buried on the property. The remaining rabbits are under quarantine on this premises and further action is dependent on final lab results.

Preliminary test results were negative for the 3 rabbits that were euthanized. Final test results are pending.

As a result of possible exposure at the Montana State Fair, the State Veterinarian placed 15 premises under quarantined.

Idaho Update:

Movement restrictions were placed on the truck carrying approximately 3,600 rabbits because of the 2 rabbits from the Yellowstone County, MT, premises (but not the Utah origin rabbits). These 3,600 rabbits, considered to be contacts, were euthanized and disposed of appropriately.

Illinois Update:

The Mercer County premises, which received 72 rabbits from the infected Utah premises, is under quarantine and plans are being made for depopulating those rabbits. There were no rabbit movements before the quarantine was issued. The owner has approximately 300 rabbits.

Preliminary test results are positive for the rabbits that were received from the infected Utah premises.


From all of the epidemiological data gathered so far, it seems that the outbreak has been contained to the premises mentioned above. Tracing in all affected States has revealed no other rabbit movements from these premises before quarantines were placed. Information is still being gathered from various concerned rabbit owners and is being considered in light of the known information.

APHIS, Veterinary Services (VS) and the State Departments of Agriculture of Utah, Montana, Idaho, and Illinois are working together to address the situation. VS will assist the affected States in the depopulation and cleaning/disinfecting of the premises. VS will also investigate reports of suspect rabbit calicivirus disease as part of the foreign animal disease surveillance program.

Updates regarding the rabbit calicivirus disease outbreak will be provided as new information becomes available. If you have any questions please contact the Emergency Programs staff at 301-734-8073, 800-940-6524, or . Please forward this information to other Federal, State, and industry counterparts as necessary.

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