, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 205-212

Viral haemorrhagic disease in rabbits: A review

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An acute haemorrhagic disease of rabbits was first reported in a southern province of China in 1984. It subsequently spread rapidly to South China and some parts of North China. The disease is characterized by an acute onset with fever, rapid respiration and sudden death. There is a high morbidity and mortality rate. The pathological changes are consistent with severe generalized circulatory dysfunction (hyperaemia, congestion and haemorrhage), marked degeneration of parenchymatous tissue, pronounced serous-haemorrhagic pneumonia and extensive disruption of reticulo-lymphoid tissue. The disease has been named rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease and it has been suggested that the aetiological agent is a picornavirus. A tissue-derived vaccine has been prepared by homogenizing the liver, lung, spleen and kidney of infected rabbits and inactivating with formaldehyde. This review summarizes the information on the aetiology, epidemiology and clinical and pathological aspects of this new rabbit disease.