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Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: virus persistence and adaptation in Australia.

Schwensow NI, Cooke B, Kovaliski J, Sinclair R, Peacock D, Fickel J, Sommer S - Evol Appl (2014)

Bottom Line: Together, these data suggest that RHDV survives in the Australian environment through its ability to spread amongst rabbit subpopulations.This is consistent with modelling results that indicated that in a large interconnected rabbit meta-population, RHDV should maintain high virulence, cause short, strong disease outbreaks but show low persistence in any given subpopulation.This new epidemiological framework is important for understanding virus-host co-evolution and future disease management options of pest species to secure Australia's remaining natural biodiversity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) Berlin, Germany ; School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide Adelaide, SA, Australia.

ABSTRACT
In Australia, the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) has been used since 1996 to reduce numbers of introduced European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) which have a devastating impact on the native Australian environment. RHDV causes regular, short disease outbreaks, but little is known about how the virus persists and survives between epidemics. We examined the initial spread of RHDV to show that even upon its initial spread, the virus circulated continuously on a regional scale rather than persisting at a local population level and that Australian rabbit populations are highly interconnected by virus-carrying flying vectors. Sequencing data obtained from a single rabbit population showed that the viruses that caused an epidemic each year seldom bore close genetic resemblance to those present in previous years. Together, these data suggest that RHDV survives in the Australian environment through its ability to spread amongst rabbit subpopulations. This is consistent with modelling results that indicated that in a large interconnected rabbit meta-population, RHDV should maintain high virulence, cause short, strong disease outbreaks but show low persistence in any given subpopulation. This new epidemiological framework is important for understanding virus-host co-evolution and future disease management options of pest species to secure Australia's remaining natural biodiversity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of presently known Southern Australian rabbit populations. Combined data from Rabbit Scan and databases on the first years of spread of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). Each black dot represents a recorded rabbit population.
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fig03: Map of presently known Southern Australian rabbit populations. Combined data from Rabbit Scan and databases on the first years of spread of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). Each black dot represents a recorded rabbit population.

Mentions: Virtually, all recorded populations of wild rabbits in the part of South Australia considered here are within 25 km of other known populations (Fig.3). This does not mean that there are no rabbits in between; instead, the data simply reflect the minimum density of rabbit subpopulations. No information about the structure of the individual rabbit populations is available.


Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: virus persistence and adaptation in Australia.

Schwensow NI, Cooke B, Kovaliski J, Sinclair R, Peacock D, Fickel J, Sommer S - Evol Appl (2014)

Map of presently known Southern Australian rabbit populations. Combined data from Rabbit Scan and databases on the first years of spread of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). Each black dot represents a recorded rabbit population.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4231595&req=5

fig03: Map of presently known Southern Australian rabbit populations. Combined data from Rabbit Scan and databases on the first years of spread of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). Each black dot represents a recorded rabbit population.
Mentions: Virtually, all recorded populations of wild rabbits in the part of South Australia considered here are within 25 km of other known populations (Fig.3). This does not mean that there are no rabbits in between; instead, the data simply reflect the minimum density of rabbit subpopulations. No information about the structure of the individual rabbit populations is available.

Bottom Line: Together, these data suggest that RHDV survives in the Australian environment through its ability to spread amongst rabbit subpopulations.This is consistent with modelling results that indicated that in a large interconnected rabbit meta-population, RHDV should maintain high virulence, cause short, strong disease outbreaks but show low persistence in any given subpopulation.This new epidemiological framework is important for understanding virus-host co-evolution and future disease management options of pest species to secure Australia's remaining natural biodiversity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) Berlin, Germany ; School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide Adelaide, SA, Australia.

ABSTRACT
In Australia, the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) has been used since 1996 to reduce numbers of introduced European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) which have a devastating impact on the native Australian environment. RHDV causes regular, short disease outbreaks, but little is known about how the virus persists and survives between epidemics. We examined the initial spread of RHDV to show that even upon its initial spread, the virus circulated continuously on a regional scale rather than persisting at a local population level and that Australian rabbit populations are highly interconnected by virus-carrying flying vectors. Sequencing data obtained from a single rabbit population showed that the viruses that caused an epidemic each year seldom bore close genetic resemblance to those present in previous years. Together, these data suggest that RHDV survives in the Australian environment through its ability to spread amongst rabbit subpopulations. This is consistent with modelling results that indicated that in a large interconnected rabbit meta-population, RHDV should maintain high virulence, cause short, strong disease outbreaks but show low persistence in any given subpopulation. This new epidemiological framework is important for understanding virus-host co-evolution and future disease management options of pest species to secure Australia's remaining natural biodiversity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus