Fatal disease is affecting rabbits in Singapore

A fatal disease that primarily affects rabbits has been detected in Singapore, Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) said on Thursday.

The Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is highly contagious, acute and fatal, although it is not zoonotic and does not affect humans or other animal species, AVS added.

A news release published on the National Parks Board website stated that the virus that causes RHD was detected on Wednesday through samples from pet rabbits submitted by a veterinary clinic.

Investigations showed there may be up to 11 affected rabbits in the cluster, eight of which have died.

None of the cases are known to have a travel history. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing.

AVS said it will work with veterinary clinics and distributors on the import and registration of vaccines for RHD.

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease:

RHD is not zoonotic and does not pose a health risk to humans.

Its incubation period of RHD is between one to five days.

Clinical signs may include anorexia, dullness, prostration, nervous signs, groans and cries, or respiratory signs such as breathing difficulties or discharge from the nose.

Death may occur within 12 to 36 hours once clinical signs develop.

Supportive care can be provided for infected rabbits, but there is no specific treatment available for RHD.

RHD has been reported in some countries around the world, like Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and parts of Asia in both domestic and wild rabbit populations.