Posted by: atowhee | June 30, 2020


It seems nature is being relentless, as always.  A virus that kills rabbits–domestic or wild–is being reported across the western U.S.

This piece in Science describes how the virus kills and confirms its presence in New Mexico as early as 2018.  

The virus was confirmed in Arizona just over two months ago.
Here’s a second piece on the southwestern spread, with advice to rabbit pet owners on how to keep it out of your home.

This past week a second case was confirmed in Nevada.  One nickname is now, sadly, rabbit ebola.

This report from earlier this month is on the disease killing bunnies in Colorado.

There’s an article in the new New Yorker [July 6 issue] by Susan Orlean.  You can’t access without a subscription so no link.  It’s entitled “Rabbit Outbreak.”  It describes cases in the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound area of Washington State dating to 2019.  Here is article from last summer when the virus cancelled the rabbit show up there.

One week later the island newspaper ran article confirming the virus was killing feral, not just domestic, rabbits.

Rabbit people in the Midwest are rightfully concerned.  The Missouri State Fair cancelled its rabbit show for this year.  Rabbit shows in the western U.S. are being cancelled as well.

Here is link to article in veterinarian journal which includes map of where the virus has been confirmed in the southwestern US, so far.  This puts you ahead of the curve, publication date is July 15!rhdv2 map

So far, I’ve found no evidence that the disease has struck in Oregon.  A spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Agriculture told me there had been no confirmed cases in the state.

Nuttall’s Cottontail at Malheur Field Station.  Live long and prosper, my furry little friend:nut-cot-mfs (2)


  1. No mention of the short-sighted, stubborn, hide-bound bureaucrats and their unwillingness to take this seriously until it turned out to be disastrous. But it’s all there in the New Yorker article. Thanks for the details and for posting about this travesty.

  2. Reblogged this on Wolf's Birding and Bonsai Blog.

  3. Reblogged this on Wolf's Birding and Bonsai Blog.

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