RHDVRabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus
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In 1991, a strain of RHDV from Czechoslovakia (CAPM V-351) was imported into Australia for assessment of its suitability as a rabbit biocontrol agent; it has been used for this purpose since 1995, resulting in substantial benefits for both the economy and the environment (3-5).
RHDV has a 7.4-kb single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome (gRNA) comprising 2 open reading frames (ORFs) (1).
As part of ongoing opportunistic surveillance of RHDV field outbreaks, we analyzed 3 isolates from dead adult wild rabbits found in the wider Canberra region of Australia.
During the late 1980s, a calicivirus, RHDV, caused infections that made a strong impact on rabbit populations, causing initial mortality rates of 55%-75% in Iberia (1).
These subspecies are equally susceptible to RHDV (3).
RHDV is not cultivatable in cell culture; therefore, detection of virus genome, virions, and anti-RHDV antibodies and experimental infection of rabbits are required for diagnosis and virus characterization (7).
Similar to human caliciviruses of the genus Norovirus, RHDV binds to histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs), and we recently showed that HBGAs serve as attachment factors (ligands) that facilitate RHDV infection (2).
detected in the United States, its unique pathogenic potential to rabbits among the currently described non-RHDV lagoviruses, and its genetic distinction from RHDV. The phylogenetic relationships of the non-RHDV caliciviruses will no doubt be further refined as more members with complete or near-complete sequences, like MRCV, become available.
RHDV is classified as a Lagovirus within the family Caliciviridae.
In 1997, the Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) was illegally imported from Australia into Central Otago, New Zealand, for the purpose of rabbit control.