Rabbit Hemmorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2)
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHDV2) was detected for the first time in Illinois in a domestic rabbit on July 13, 2023. Prior to this detection, the disease had not been diagnosed in Illinois domestic or wild rabbits. The disease has been found in many areas of the country, especially the western states. The Illinois detection was located in Cook County.
RHDV2 is a contagious viral disease that affects rabbits. Clinical signs range and may vary from sudden death to hemorrhage noted from the nasal or oral cavity. Affected rabbits may be lethargic and anorexic and may show respiratory or neurologic signs. There is no live animal test to confirm the disease. Any suspected cases in domestic rabbits should be reported to the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 217-782-4944 or the United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services at 217-547-6030. Reports and concerns of wild rabbits exhibiting clinical signs of infection may be directed to The Illinois Department of Natural Resources at 815-369-2414 or 773-636-0819.
Rabbit owners are encouraged to practice biosecurity to protect their animals. This includes preventing contact with wild rabbits and not allowing your rabbits on the ground when outdoors. Washing hands before and after handling rabbits and limiting interactions with other rabbits are other appropriate biosecurity measures. Rabbits that are taken to show or exhibition should be quarantined after the show and must be healthy prior to the exhibition. Do not share equipment with other exhibitors and clean and disinfect all clothing, footwear, and equipment used at the exhibition or show.
Owners attending shows/exhibitions with rabbits should visit RABBIT EXHIBITION TIPS for more information.
A vaccine offered by Medgene Labs has received Emergency Use authorization from the USDA for the prevention of RHDV2. Veterinarians who have clients that wish to use this vaccine can order the vaccine directly from Medgene. Please visit RHDV2 | Solutions | Medgene (medgenelabs.com) for more information or to order the vaccine.
Dogs and Cats
Rabies is a fatal zoonotic, neurologic disease. In September 2021, Illinois reported the first human case and death within the state from rabies since 1954 after a person was bitten by a rabid bat and did not receive prophylaxis.
The canine strain of rabies has been eradicated in the US due to vaccination practices. However, the risk of re-introduction is present as a result of importation of animals from countries where the strain remains prevalent. Strains circulating in bats, raccoons, skunks, and other species are still found within the US. Therefore, we all must remain vigilant and comply with the laws regarding Rabies vaccination, quarantine and testing in Illinois. All cats and dogs over the age of 16 weeks are required to be vaccinated with an approved product and this must be administered by a licensed veterinarian. Please note that while they are required to be vaccinated at 16 weeks of age, if a product is used at 12 weeks and is approved for this age, the animal is considered officially vaccinated. County animal control officials are responsible for the enforcement of rabies vaccination requirements with oversight from the Department.
If an animal bites a person or your pet is bitten by another animal, you should always contact your local animal control office first. If you find a bat in your home, or your pet or other domestic animal had contact with a bat you should contact your local animal control office. Below is a summary of rabies guidance as well as the section of law that applies to help inform Animal Control officials and owners. If you have questions about submitting a sample for rabies testing please visit the IDPH link at ohp-labs-rabies-submission-form-revised-10082019.pdf (illinois.gov) for guidance. Persons that have been bitten or have been in contact with a bat or have a bat in the home need to contact the local health department, animal control and their doctor. You may also visit Rabies | IDPH (illinois.gov) for more information. Only the labs listed on the IDPH website are approved for testing Rabies. Please coordinate this with your local animal control and local health department to ensure testing is done at an approved laboratory.
|Type Of Bite||Vaccine Status||Quarantine Length||Notes|
|Dog/Cat Bites Human||Vaccinated||10 Days||Reference 510 ILCS 5/13 for specifics. Seen by veterinarian within 24 hours of bite and at end of quarantine to ensure no clinical signs and microchipped if not already. If the animal is euthanized or expires before the end of quarantine, the brain must be submitted for rabies testing.|
|Dog/Cat Bites Human||Unvaccinated||10 days- quarantine in a supervised facility||Reference ILCS 5/13 for specifics. Seen by veterinarian within 24 hours and at end of quarantine to ensure no clinical signs and vaccinate for rabies after 10 day quarantine and microchip if not already. If the animal is euthanized or expires before the end of quarantine, the brain must be submitted for rabies testing.|
|Rabid (or potentially rabid) animal bites dog, at or ferret or the animal is found in close proximity to a bat and the bat can't be tested negative||Vaccinated||45 days||Reference section 30.130 of animal control rules. Immediate humane euthanasia is preferred. If not, then if vaccinated more than 30 days prior to exposure and within immunity period the dog should be revaccinated and confined for the 45 days. Location of confinement is discretion of animal control.|
|Rabid (or potentially rabid animal) bites dog, cat or ferret or the animal is found in close proximity to a bat and the bat can't be tested negative||Unvaccinated or out of date||6 months||Reference section 30.130 of animal control rules. Immediate humane euthanasia is preferred. If not, vaccinate IMMEDIATELY and placed under quarantine. Revaccinate at END of 5 MONTHS of quarantine and remain in quarantine for 30 more days. Location of confinement is discretion of animal control.