[tt-forum] RABBIT CONTROL AND RABBIT CALICIVIRUS DISEASE
- RABBIT CONTROL AND RABBIT CALICIVIRUS DISEASE
A field handbook for land managers in Australia
Some background on RCD
RCD is a viral disease which affects only European rabbits. The virus probably originated from a less virulent form
present in rabbit populations for many years. It was first reported in China in 1984 and soon after in other
countries in Asia and Europe, and in Mexico. The disease was thought to be spread by humans trading in
In only a few months it killed 64 million farmed rabbits in Italy alone and quickly passed from domestic rabbits
into wild rabbit populations, causing high mortality. The disease has now affected rabbits in over 40 countries on
These reports alerted scientists to a potentially new biological control for wild rabbits in Australia and New
Zealand. The virus was taken into quarantine at the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong for
comprehensive testing over three years from June 1991.
These tests, along with previous results from overseas, confirm that:
RCD is entirely specific to the European rabbit. It does not produce disease in Australian native animals or in
domestic animals, not in hares or American cottontail rabbits, nor in any other species tested.