The course of a sudden, highly contagious and deadly viral disease that has already wiped out rabbit colonies in Edmonton and Calgary is under intense scrutiny by Alberta wildlife experts.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease, the first documented case in the county dating back to March 2021, affects both wild and domestic rabbits.
The virus has a mortality rate of 70 to 100%. Most rabbits that contract the disease die within one to five days, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The disease spreads rapidly within the colony, explains Margo Pepos, a professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in wildlife diseases:
It is a fatal disease for rabbits and European rabbits. Basically, all wild and domestic rabbits disappear from the area.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the disease is not known to pose a risk to human health.
In Edmonton, in the fall of 2021, the virus killed about 30 hares who had lived at Holy Cross Cemetery for more than 30 years. In Calgary, three colonies of rabbits that lived in the industrial area of Manchester were eradicated within two weeks.
According to information from Wallis Snowdon
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