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Rabbit Virus Proving Effective

Two pest rabbits have been killed near Flow regions Tanybryn and Kaniva by the newly released Korean strain of calicivirus, known as RHDV1 K5, the CSIRO has confirmed.

The confirmation comes just a few weeks since the national release of the virus at 150 sites across Victoria alone.

Agriculture Victoria rabbit biosecurity manager John Matthews said this result confirms that RHDV1 K5 is starting to work within the Victorian landscape, mentioning the importance of continuing other rabbit management techniques, such as ripping, to take full advantage of any population reductions.

All Victorian release sites received tissue sample kits as part of their mailed-out information packs sent in early February, with tissue samples from dead rabbits now starting to be received at the laboratory testing facilities for analysis, according to Agriculture Victoria.

“Samples take approximately 1-2 days to be analysed by the research teams as part of the Invasive Animals CRC National RHDV Monitoring Program.

“The confirmed results are logged into RabbitScan and an email notification is sent back to the recipient.

“We urge those involved to continue to send tissue samples to the laboratory for testing.

“These reports are vital to our understanding of the movement of the disease around the country and will assist landholders in making future decisions about rabbit management,” Mr Matthews said.

A RabbitScan smartphone app is also available, allowing users to easily report evidence of disease to assist land managers across Australia understand the movement of the virus.

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