The B.C. government is warning rabbit owners in the mid Island after three dead, feral rabbits were found to have a virus. (News Bulletin file)

Virus killing rabbits on mid Island

Three dead rabbits, found Tuesday in Nanaimo, had disease caused by calicivirus

The B.C. government is warning rabbit owners in Nanaimo and the mid-Island area to be cautious after a large number of dead rabbits were found in the Vancouver Island University area.

An unusually large number of dead rabbits were found around Vancouver Island University and Rotary Bowl stadium Tuesday, with the university, Nanaimo Animal Control Services and B.C. SPCA looking into the matter.

RELATED: A dozen dead rabbits discovered at Nanaimo field

In a press release issued Friday, March 2, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said three of the rabbits were tested and found to have “rabbit haemorrhagic disease, caused by a calicivirus.”

It is suspected other rabbits died of the same cause and more rabbits will undergo testing in the coming days.

“Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is an extremely infectious and lethal disease of rabbits,” said the press release. “It is the third confirmed diagnosis of this virus in Canada, and the first in British Columbia. The disease is exclusive to rabbits. Other animals, including dogs and cats, cannot be infected.”

Humans are not at risk either, the ministry said, but it also recommends not releasing domestic rabbits into the wild at any time.

“As well, rabbit owners should take precautions when disposing of any rabbit remains, and contact their veterinarian for more information. Rabbit calicivirus is a pathogen, which affects only European rabbits, not native rabbits,” the ministry said.

reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

Record produced by Courtenay’s Doug Cox earns Juno nomination

He worked with fiddler April Verch in Nashville on classic country record

No bears destroyed in Cumberland in 2019

WildSafeBC coordinator updates Village on successes and challenges

Uptown Yarns marks 20 years in business in downtown Courtenay

Owner Jennifer Emslie says crafts like knitting are making a comeback

Crown Isle in Courtenay home to one of lottery’s prize homes

Extras with local BC Children’s Hospital prize include nearby townhouse, vehicles and cash

VIDEO: Kenney wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

VIDEO: Canada looking to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Baby Bear statue returned to be reunited with Mama and Papa in Island Secret Garden spot

Culprit left it near the Henry Road roundabout in Chemainus with a note attached

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Okanagan cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Headstones at Enderby’s Cliffside Cemetery mistakenly driven over by excavation crew

Despite reports of decline, birds flocking to national parks in Canadian Rockies

Recent studies suggest overall bird population has slid by three billion since 1970

Most Read