Geographic and Seasonal Variation in the Impact of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease on European Rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, and Rabbit Damage in Australia
Within 12 months of its escape from an island study site in October 1995, rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) spread naturally and rapidly through much of southern Australia (Kovaliski 1998). During the next year, RHDV was deliberately released in European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, populations where rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) had not been detected (Neave 1999). This ensured that few rabbit populations in Australia remained unexposed. Since that time, naturally recurring outbreaks of the disease have been recorded in most rabbit populations studied but the impact on rabbit abundance and rabbit impact has varied greatly. In this chapter, we summarise the epidemiology of RHD in Australia, make some broad generalisations about the impact of the disease on rabbit populations, native fauna and flora and livestock production, illustrate some of the variability in impact using examples from study sites in South Australia and discuss likely underlying causes of that variability.
KeywordsWild Rabbit European Rabbit Young Rabbit Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus
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