Myxoma virus and rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2 coinfection in a European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus algirus), Portugal

18 Mar 2020

Carvalho, C. L., Abade dos Santos, F. A., Fagulha, T., Carvalho, P., Mendonca, P., Monteiro, M., Dias Duarte, M.

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Myxoma virus (MYXV) and rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2) are two major pathogens that affect the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Between August 2017 and August 2019, 1166 wild rabbits (971 legally hunted and 195 found dead) were tested by PCR-based methods for MYXV and RHDV2 within the scope of an ongoing surveillance programme on wild leporids in Portugal. Despite never having been reported before and being considered a rare event, coinfection by RHDV2 and MYXV was detected in one juvenile wild rabbit found dead in the Évora district located in Alentejo. The relative frequency of coinfection in the group of diseased rabbits (found dead in the field) was 0.52 per cent (1/195). The positivity percentage of each single virus was much higher, namely, 14.36 per cent (28/195) for MYXV and 55.38 per cent (108/195) for RHDV2, within the 2 years of sample collection considered.