First cases of myxomatosis in Iberian hares (Lepus granatensis) in Portugal

12 Apr 2020

Carvalho, C. L., Abade dos Santos, F. A., Monteiro, M., Carvalho, P., Mendonca, P., Duarte, M. D.

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Myxomatosis was detected in Iberian hares (Lepus granatensis) in Portugal, October 2018, following its emergence in Spain 3 months earlier. Here, we describe the epidemiological, molecular and anatomo-histopathological data of the first two cases. Myxoma virus DNA was detected in the eyelids, nose and perineal region in both hares. It was also detected in the lungs of hare 1 and in the spleen and liver of hare 2. The genomic insertion identified in strains from Spain was confirmed in both strains suggesting a common origin for the Iberian viruses. Gross lesions in hare 1 included palpebral oedema and conjunctival mucopurulent discharge, common in both forms of the disease in rabbits. Hare 2 presented eyelid thickening with small diffuse nodules. Histopathology of the eyelids showed extracellular myxoid matrix in hare 1 and purulent dermatitis in hare 2. Both animals exhibited good body condition, suggesting a short course of the disease and higher virulence of the virus towards the Iberian hare.