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Effects of vaccination against viral haemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis on long-term mortality rates of European wild rabbits
  1. C. Calvete, PhD1,
  2. R. Estrada, PhD1,
  3. J. Lucientes, PhD1,
  4. J. J. Osacar, PhD1 and
  5. R. Villafuerte, PhD2
  1. 1 Departamento de Patología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Zaragoza, c/Miguel Servet 177, 50013 Zaragoza, Spain
  2. 2 Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC-CSIC-UCLM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13005 Ciudad Real, Spain
  1. Plaza Serrano Berges 13, 80D, 50016 Zaragoza, Spain

Abstract

The effects of vaccination against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) on long-term mortality rates in European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were studied from 1993 to 1996 by radiotracking a free-living population of wild rabbits. During the three months after immunisation, unvaccinated young rabbits weighing between 180 and 600 g were 13.6 times more likely to die than vaccinated young rabbits. In adult rabbits, vaccination did not significantly decrease mortality, mainly owing to the high proportion of rabbits which had previously been exposed to the antigens of both diseases. Compared with adult rabbits with natural antibodies to VHD, rabbits without these antibodies were 5.2 times more likely to die of VHD during annual outbreaks.

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