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Pesticide Registration

Frequently Asked Questions about List O: Disinfectants for Use Against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2)

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Can people catch Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2)?

No. RHDV2 does not infect humans or other domestic or wild animals.

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How does Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2) spread and what is the best way to prevent transmission?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2) "can be spread through direct contact or exposure to an infected rabbit’s excretions or blood. The virus can also survive and spread from carcasses, food, water, and any contaminated materials. People can spread the virus indirectly by carrying it on their clothing and shoes."

For complete and up-to-date guidance on cleaning, disinfection, and other ways to prevent transmission, please consult the USDA-APHIS website.

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What is an emerging viral pathogen claim?

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases defines “emerging infectious diseases/pathogens” as those “that have newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range.”

Many of the emerging pathogens of greatest concern are pathogenic viruses. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2) is a pathogenic virus.

Because the occurrence of emerging viral pathogens is less common and less predictable than established pathogens, few if any EPA-registered disinfectant product labels specify use against this category of infectious agents. Therefore, in 2016, EPA provided a voluntary, two-stage process to enable use of certain EPA-registered disinfectant products against emerging viral pathogens not identified on the product label.

A company can apply for an emerging viral pathogen claim, even before an outbreak occurs, based on previous EPA-approved claims for harder-to-kill viruses.

EPA reviews the supporting information and determines if the claim is acceptable. Once approved, a company can make certain off-label claims as specified in that guidance in the event of an outbreak. For instance, the preapproved company can include certain statements about expected efficacy on:

  • technical literature distributed to health care facilities, physicians, nurses, and public health officials;
  • non-label-related websites;
  • consumer information services; and
  • social media sites.

In the absence of products registered specifically against RHDV2, the outbreak of this virus in the US has triggered EPA’s Emerging Viral Pathogen Policy (EVP). This policy has only been triggered one other time since its implementation in 2016, for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

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Have these products been tested against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2)?

At present, there are no EPA-registered disinfectant products that have been tested against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2). Products on this list will not mention RHDV2 on the label.

However, all products on this list have demonstrated efficacy against two viruses that are as hard to kill as RHDV2. Therefore, EPA expects that all products on this list will be effective against RHDV2 when used according to the label directions.

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