By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Game Commission put forward an executive order this past week to protect native, wild rabbit and hare populations in the state from Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD).

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The executive order involves banning imports of rabbits, hares and pikas into Pennsylvania or any of their associated parts, like pelts or hides, from areas where Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV2) has been reported in the last 12 months.

The ban has no end date as of now, according to the Game Commission, and is one of several measures they are taking.

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“Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a foreign animal disease caused by a virus that can only infect lagomorph species. The virus variant responsible for the current RHD outbreak in the United States is RHDV2,” the Game Commission said in a release.

“This variant of RHD-causing viruses is the only one known to affect native North American lagomorphs. Domestic rabbits – all of which are European species – are also susceptible to RHDV2 and the virus has been responsible for mass die-offs in domestic and wild rabbit and hare populations in several countries since it was first detected in France in 2010. To date, RHDV2 has not been detected in Pennsylvania.”

There is no treatment for RHDV2, the Game Commission says.

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission asks if you see a group of wild, dead rabbits and the cause of death is not obvious to contact your local Game Commission office.