A new strain of Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), has been found in wild rabbits in Australia. RHDV was previously known as rabbit calicivirus.
The new strain called RHDV2 is now being detected in many areas around South Australia and Victoria. In South Australia dead rabbits have tested positive for RHDV2 in the Mid North, Adelaide Hills, South East, Murray Mallee and the Barossa Valley. Suspected RHDV2 is still being analysed from wild rabbits from the Coorong region and on Yorke Peninsula.
Findings so far indicate the virus is becoming well established in the wild. Research officers from biosecurity South Australia are monitoring the spread of RHDV2, in particular as the conditions become more favourable for RHDV2 outbreaks, to determine if RHDV2 will spread quickly and impact on wild populations as much as it is hoped.
Dr. David Peacock from Biosecurity South Australia is still looking for dead rabbit samples particularly from regions where RHDV2 has not been confirmed. If you come across a rabbit carcass please contact Dr. Peacock and he will arrange to get it tested for RHDV2.
Dr David Peacock | Biosecurity Research Officer – Pest Animals | Biosecurity SA
Primary Industries and Regions SA - PIRSA | Government of South Australia
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