Although it’s still early days anecdotal evidence tentatively suggests that the rapid spread of the fatal Rabbit Haemmorhagic Viral Disease outbreak throughout southern Africa may be slowing.

However, the latest incident map compiled from data submitted by rabbit breeders to the Gauteng Rabbit Breeders’ Association (GRBA) chairman Gavin Grgurin shows how widespread the outbreak really is, with cases being reported from northern Namibia, Botswana, eSwatini and throughout South Africa.

Reporting vital

Rabbit breeders stress the importance of reporting all outbreaks of the disease, wherever they may occur, so that a complete picture can be made of what is happening where. Because the disease is notifiable, if you have rabbit mortalities you are obliged by law to report these to your nearest State Veterinarian. The State Vet may require a carcass for viral testing to confirm the presence of the virus. However, depending on the number of cases that have occurred recently in your area the State Vet may declare a regional outbreak. In such a case the State Vet may simply record your cases without testing, based on the symptoms you observe prior to death.

Vaccines countrywide

Associated with the outbreak is the availability and cost of the correct vaccine to counter the particular strain of the virus prevalent in South Africa.

Following its first importation only in May this year, a limited number of veterinary practices countrywide now have stock.

Whatsapp support groups

To keep abreast of the fast-changing situation regarding infections, vaccinations, and necessary preventative protocols the GRBA has opened two Whatsapp groups. They are both free to join if you have any interest in the rabbit industry.

You will find them on Whatsapp as RHVDHOTLINE which is strictly for reporting individual cases, numbers of mortalities and survivors, and their locations, and RVHD SA Support for advice on raising awareness, hygiene and quarantine protocols, vaccine availability and general knowledge.

Note, however, the different spellings: RHVD for the hotline and RVHD for the support group.

Main image: Incident map as at 24 October 2023, supplied by the GRBA.


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