Following the escape to the mainland of the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) from Wardang Island off the coast of South Australia, a monitoring program was implemented over a 13 mo period, between October 1995 and October 1996 to determine the activity and rate of spread of the disease in the wild European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) population. All reports of dead rabbits were investigated. Whenever possible, liver and spleen tissue samples were collected from fresh carcasses and subsequently analysed for the presence of RHDV. Maximum rates of spread of rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) in Australia ranged from 9 km/mo during summer to 414 km/mo in spring. New cases of RHD were moderate during late autumn and winter and peaked in spring. In summer the disease was rarely reported.
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Vol. 34 • No. 3