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. ISSN 1035-3712

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.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2018 02:19
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2018 02:20
Uncontrolled Keywords: wild rabbits, myxoma virus
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960499 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/WR05004
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/34380

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