U.S. rabbit populations contend with lethal virus, RHDV2

May 22, 2020 by  
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Wildlife  officials recently announced outbreaks of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) ravaging Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and California. The  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  deems RHDV2 as seriously contagious and nearly always fatal amongst domestic and wild rabbit species and their close relatives, hares and pikas. RHDV2 is not zoonotic, so it won’t infect livestock, pets or humans, asserts the  California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) . Still,  Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW)  advise against pets consuming rabbit carcasses. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is the viral agent causing rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD).  Science Direct  says RHDV belongs in the calicivirus family, which infects many  animals  including pigs, cattle, cats and even humans. Norovirus, for example, is a human calicivirus. But humans seem unaffected by RHDV.  Related:  What’s causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations? There are two worrisome strains of RHDV — RHDV1 and RHDV2.  House Rabbit Society ,  Veterinary Practice , as well as both the Vaccine and Veterinary Research  journals document RHDV1 as first emerging in China back in 1984, when, in just one year, 140 million rabbits were decimated. China claims that the outbreak started in Angora rabbits imported from Europe. Eventually, RHDV1 spread to over 40 countries and hit the U.S. in 2000. Given its estimated 95% mortality rate, Australia and New Zealand notoriously introduced RHDV1 into their wild rabbit populations as pest biocontrol. RHDV1 mutated, begetting RHDV2, which was first identified in 2010 when domesticated rabbits in France showed clinical signs of RHD despite being already vaccinated against RHDV1. By September 2018, RHDV2 reached the U.S., manifesting among domestic rabbits in a rural Ohio farm, documents the  Veterinary Information Network (VIN) News Service . The USDA considers both RHDV1 and RHDV2 invasive pathogens, as they are not native to North America. A  joint paper  put forth by the Center for Food Security & Public Health , Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics, Iowa State University, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the USDA revealed RHD can be difficult to eradicate. Not only can the virus strains survive over seven months on rabbit carcasses, but they also withstand temperatures below freezing and above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  House Rabbit Society  cites several differences between RHDV1 and RHDV2. Incubation is two to 10 days for RHDV1, but three to nine days for RHDV2. Rabbits with RHDV2 can be asymptomatic yet spread the virus for up to two months. There is no known cure for either strain. While a vaccine exists for RHDV1, there are currently no USDA -licensed vaccines for RHDV2. That RHDV2 can “potentially surviv[e] more than 3 months without a host” has prompted some U.S. veterinarians to import RHDV2 vaccines despite a convoluted process. The  USDA  and  VIN News Service  warn RHD is highly contagious, spreading easily by direct contact with rabbit excretions and secretions — saliva, sweat and biowaste. Sharing food, water, bedding, fomites and vehicles spreads RHD. Other vectors are infected rabbit meat, pelts, even insects. Besides farmers and pet owners, biologists and  conservationists  are worried about this virus. As declining rabbit populations have repercussions in  habitat  food chains, RHDV2 could cause severe consequences down the line. + Veterinary Information Network (VIN) News Service Via USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and House Rabbit Society Images via Pexels

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U.S. rabbit populations contend with lethal virus, RHDV2

Throw out your romaine lettuce, CDC declares E.coli outbreak

November 21, 2018 by  
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Romaine lettuce is unsafe to eat … again. The CDC is advising people to throw out and avoid eating all romaine lettuce following an E.coli outbreak that has left 32 people sick and 13 people hospitalized across 11 states in the U.S. so far. The CDC along with public health officials across the U.S. and Canada are investigating another outbreak of E.coli connected to romaine lettuce. The center said that consumers should not eat any romaine lettuce, and restaurants and retailers should not serve this item until the outbreak has been thoroughly investigated. Related: Is your Thanksgiving turkey putting your family’s health at risk? The reported illnesses for this outbreak began on Oct.8, 2018 through Oct. 31, 2018. Thirteen people have been hospitalized, with 32 cases reported altogether at the time of writing. No deaths have been reported. The investigation is still undergoing and no additional information has been reported, but the center advises consumers to throw out all romaine lettuce , even if you have already eaten some and did not get sick. “This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix and Caesar salad,” the CDC said. “If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away. Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.” Watch: CDC declares romaine lettuce an E. coli risk If you’re worried about the outbreak, here are some symptoms to look for: severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a slight fever. The illness usually begins about two to eight days after swallowing the germ and lasts about a week, but E.coli can cause kidney failure or become life-threatening. Find out more information here .  The CDC is updating consumers on the outbreak and ongoing investigation. + CDC Image via Shutterstock

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Throw out your romaine lettuce, CDC declares E.coli outbreak

Salmonella, What it Actually is and How You Can Avoid Getting Sick

August 21, 2010 by  
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photo: Sara Novak You’ve likely heard about the latest salmonella scare . This time it revolves around eggs, 550 billion of them in all . Nearly 2,000 people in 17 states have already gotten sick as a result of the recent outbreak

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Salmonella, What it Actually is and How You Can Avoid Getting Sick

Turn a Phone Booth into a Library in Four Easy Steps

August 21, 2010 by  
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Amy Inouye sets up the Highland Park Book Booth. Photos via Good (left) and 90042 (right). Turning a disused pay-phone booth into a community library has been done before

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Turn a Phone Booth into a Library in Four Easy Steps

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