Myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease: A 30-year study of the occurrence on commercial farms in Spain

Joan M. Rosell, L. Fernando de la Fuente, Francisco Parra, Kevin P. Dalton, J. Ignacio Badiola Sáiz, Ana Pérez de Rozas, Juan J.Badiola Díez, Daniel Fernández de Luco, Jordi Casal, Natàlia Majó, Jordina Casas, Ricard Garriga, Xosé M.Fernández Magariños

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6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. In this retrospective study, we describe the relative occurrence of clinical myxomatosis, and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), on 1714 commercial farms visited in Spain, between 1988 and 2018. We determined the annual prevalence based on 817 visits to 394 farms affected by myxomatosis. Myxomatosis was more prevalent from August to March, being lowest in June (3%) and highest in September (8.9%). With regard to RHD, we assessed 253 visits to 156 affected farms. We analyzed mean annual and monthly incidence. Two important RHD epidemics occurred; the first in 1988–1989 due to RHDV GI.1 (also known as RHDV), and the second from 2011 to 2013 due to RHDV GI.2 (RHDV2 or RHDVb). These epidemics occurred at times when effective vaccination had not been carried out. Relative monthly incidence in 2011–2018 was higher from April to August (p < 0.001). The results we obtained from 1404 necropsies on 102 farms did not clearly relate serosanguinous nasal discharge in rabbits with disease caused by GI.2 infection. We also assessed vaccination schedules used on 200 doe farms visited from the end of 2014 to 2018; 95.5% vaccinated against myxomatosis and 97.5% against RHD. Both diseases remain prevalent; however, effective vaccination has produced a steady decline in myxomatosis and RHDV GI.1 and GI.2 on-farm detection. The maintenance of high hygienic standards will be needed to continue and improve this control. However, further studies are required to investigate the causes of sustained virus presence and vaccine breaks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number780
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Animal welfare
  • Disease prevention
  • Myxomatosis prevalence
  • Rabbit haemorrhagic disease incidence


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