Distribution and Prevalence of the Australian Non-Pathogenic Rabbit Calicivirus Is Correlated with Rainfall and Temperature

June Liu, Damien A. Fordham, Brian Cooke, Tarnya Cox, Greg Mutze, Tanja Strive

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    Background: Australia relies heavily on rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) for the biological control of introduced European wild rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus, which are significant economic and environmental pests. An endemic non-pathogenic rabbit calicivirus termed RCV¿A1 also occurs in wild rabbits in Australian and provides partial protection against lethal RHDV infection, thus interfering with effective rabbit control. Despite its obvious importance for rabbit population management, little is known about the epidemiology of this benign rabbit calicivirus. Methods: We determined the continent-wide distribution and prevalence of RCV-A1 by analysing 1,805 serum samples from wild rabbit populations at 78 sites across Australia for the presence of antibodies to RCV-A1 using a serological test that specifically detects RCV-A1 antibodies and does not cross-react with co-occurring RHDV antibodies. We also investigated possible correlation between climate variables and prevalence of RCV-A1 by using generalised linear mixed effect models.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalPLoS One
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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