Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) which was first recognized in China in 1984 spread via Eastern Europe to many countries of Western Europe and other parts of the world. The analysis of the virus outlined in this review comprises: 1) physico-chemical properties, 2) electron microscopy including immunoelectron microscopy, 3) demonstration of capsid protein, 4) in vivo neutralization with monoclonal antibodies (mabs), 5) infectivity of purified RNA, and 6) characterization of the viral genome. Also included are clinical, pathological and epidemiological findings, different diagnostic methods as well as disease control measures. Finally, similarities between RHD and the European brown hare syndrome (EBHS) are pointed out. The latter disease is caused by a calicivirus different from RHDV.