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Should the 40-year-old practice of releasing virulent myxoma virus to control rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) be continued?

Berman, D. and Kerr, P.J. and Stagg, R. and van Leeuwen, B.H. and Gonzalez, T. (2006) Should the 40-year-old practice of releasing virulent myxoma virus to control rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) be continued? Wildlife Research, 33 (7). pp. 549-556.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR05004

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/

Abstract

Release of virulent myxoma virus has been a key component of rabbit-control operations in Queensland, Australia, since the 1960s but its use rests on anecdotal reports. During a routine operation to release virulent myxoma virus we found no evidence to support the continued regular use of the technique in south-west Queensland. Radio-tagged rabbits inoculated with virulent myxoma virus contracted the disease but failed to pass enough virus to other rabbits to spread the disease. Rabbits with clinical signs of myxomatosis that were shot were infected with field strain derived from the original laboratory strain released in 1950 rather than the virulent strain that has been released annually. There was no change in rabbit survival or abundance caused by the release. Nevertheless, the release of virulent virus may be useful against isolated pockets of rabbits mainly because field strains are less likely to be present. Such pockets are more common now that rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus is established in Queensland.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© CSIRO Publishing.
Keywords:Oryctolagus cuniculus; rabbit; Myxoma virus; virulence; resistance; rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals
Deposited On:16 Nov 2009 04:24
Last Modified:10 Jun 2011 05:21

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