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

Article


Berman, D., Kerr, P. J., Stagg, R., 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. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR05004
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID3020
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsBerman, D. (Author), Kerr, P. J. (Author), Stagg, R. (Author), van Leeuwen, B. H. (Author) and Gonzalez, T. (Author)
Journal TitleWildlife Research
Journal Citation33 (7), pp. 549-556
Number of Pages8
Year2006
PublisherCSIRO Publishing
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN1035-3712
1448-5494
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1071/WR05004
Web Address (URL)http://www.publish.csiro.au/wr/WR05004
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.

Keywordswild rabbits, myxoma virus
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020410499. Environmental management not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia
Australian National University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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