An outbreak of rabbit viral hemorrhagic disease (RVHD) and of myxomatosis occurred in a free-living population of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) near Paris (France) in 1995. Annual mortality rates were 88% in adults and 99% in juveniles. There was no difference in mortality rates between males and females. Since most adults were protected with myxoma antibodies after May, they probably died of RVHD. Mortality lasted throughout the year despite high proportions of rabbits having developed myxomatosis and RVHD antibodies, which suggests that the combination of the two diseases and the immunosuppressive characteristics of myxoma virus could be responsible for the mortality caused by RVHD. The proportion of juveniles with RVHD antibodies increased with their weight. Seroconversion against RVHD occurred in spring and autumn.
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Vol. 34 • No. 3