Tennessee restricting rabbit imports to keep out virus

Tennessee

Baby rabbits are offered for sale at a farming supply store in Omaha, Neb., on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. The sign on their bin said they were sold for agricultural purposes. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Agriculture Department is stepping up measures to keep rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 out of the state.

The virus is highly contagious and fatal to domestic rabbits, wild hares and pikas.

State Veterinarian Samantha Beaty issued an order this week prohibiting the importation of susceptible species from any area that is under quarantine for the disease.

Any of those animals entering Tennessee from a state that has had a confirmed case of the virus within the past eight months must get a certificate of veterinary inspection within 72 hours.

The measures follow the recent detection of rabbit hemorrhagic disease in Arkansas.

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