Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is a major tool for the management of introduced, wild rabbits in Australia. However, new evidence suggests that rabbits may be developing resistance to the disease. Rabbits sourced from wild populations in central and southeastern Australia, and domestic rabbits for comparison, were experimentally challenged with a low 60 ID50 oral dose of commercially available Czech CAPM 351 virus-the original strain released in Australia. Levels of resistance to infection were generally higher than for unselected domestic rabbits and also differed (0â¿¿73% infection rates) between wild populations. Resistance was lower in populations from cooler, wetter regions and also low in arid regions with the highest resistance seen within zones of moderate rainfall. These findings suggest the external influences of non-pathogenic calicivirus in cooler, wetter areas and poor recruitment in arid populations may influence the development rate of resistance in Australia.
Elsworth, P. G., Kovaliski, J., & Cooke, B. (2012). Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: are Australian rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) evolving resistance to infection with Czech CAPM 351 RHDV? Epidemiology and Infection, 140(11), 1972-1981. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268811002743