Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease outbreak hits Western and Northern Cape

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The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has confirmed an outbreak of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) in the Western and Northern Cape.

RHD is a highly contagious, acute and fatal disease of wild rabbits. Humans are not susceptible to RHD.

Department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo says this is the first detection of the disease in the country.

He says investigations are underway to determine how the virus entered the country.

“The department received reports of die-offs of wild rabbits and hares from the Karoo areas in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces. State Veterinary Services, Private Veterinarians and the Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment were involved in field investigations.”

He adds: “At this stage, it is still unclear how the disease could have entered the country since the importation of rabbits and hares is not allowed.”