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DEC urges hunters to help slow spread of rabbit disease

Jan 17, 2023 12:34 pm

The Troy Record reports that New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation is reminding hunters this winter to protect New York’s rabbits and hares. Specifically, the DEC wants fewer cases of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2, a highly lethal and easily transmissible disease that impacts rabbits and hares. It is spread through direct contact between rabbits or contaminated materials, including hunting equipment, so cleaning up will help slow the spread of the disease. RHDV2 can survive freezing temperatures and remain contagious on surfaces for three months. It does not pose a risk to humans or other species. Hunters should avoid contact with domestic rabbits; wear disposable gloves when handling rabbit and hare carcasses and properly dispose of rabbit carcasses in trash that’s taken to a landfill or by burying deep enough to prevent scavenging; disinfect all hunting gear after out-of-state travel with a 10 percent bleach solution. Dogs cannot get sick from RHDV2, but they can transmit the virus, so minimize contact between dogs and rabbit carcasses. Anyone should report sick rabbits or unusual rabbit mortalities to DEC’s Wildlife Health Program; at 518-478-2203 or wildlife@dec.ny.gov. See the story in the Troy Record.