It's an unhoppy ending for Midwest BunFest 2018.

It's an unhoppy ending for Midwest BunFest 2018.

Clintonville-based Ohio House Rabbit Rescue officials recently announced the event, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Northland Performing Arts Center, has been called off.

The cancellation is the result of a case of a rare disease detected Sept. 19 in a domestic rabbit in Medina County, according to the announcement. The disease is known as rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2, or RHD2.

It does not pose a threat to humans or other animals, but can be fatal in rabbits, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

"This is the first confirmed case of RHD2 in the United States," according to the statement from Ohio House Rabbit Rescue. "RHD2 is very contagious and highly fatal. As this situation continues to develop, there are many unknowns about this virus. That includes exact details about the way it is transmitted and how long it remains in the environment.

"Ohio House Rabbit Rescue is committed to the safety of all rabbits. This includes the approximately 250 rabbits who attend the event, as well as those in homes and rescues around the country. For that reason, we will not take any risk of spreading this disease, no matter how low the risk might be."

The Midwest BunFest got its start in 2011 in a Whitehall park.

It is considered the largest gathering of its kind in the eastern United States, and last year's event drew more than 1,200 people, according to its website.

The cancellation leaves many rabbit-rescue organizations in the lurch, since the Midwest BunFest served as a major fundraiser for the organizations, including Ohio House Rabbit Rescue, 5485 N. High St.

The Clintonville rescue said some organizations may launch fundraising campaigns to recoup funds lost by the cancellation, and it will promote fundraisers that its rescue partners create.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1