February and March 2024 Update

April 5th, 2024

ABC interviews and Citizen Science

Recently, our research group recently completed a interviews with media talking about our epidemiology paper. They were interviewed a few times on ABC radio (Upper Hunter, Newcastle, Radio Perth)

The interviews included a callout for people to assist with citizen science initiative. You can request free test. We have received numerous requests from landowners interested in managing their rabbit population. We would like to thank the community for their engagement and support.




Filavac registration

We are pleased to know that the Filavac vaccine, which was previously supplied to Australia under an emergency permit, has been officially registered by the APVMA (as published in their fortnightly Gazette on page 11). This means that domestic rabbit owners will be able vaccinate their rabbits against the current dominant strain of RHDV for the forseeable future.


RHDV testing

From December to March, we received submissions from ACT, NSW, VIC, WA, QLD, TAS and NT. Following from the holiday season, submissions numbers were similar to those seen in November. RHDV2 remains the dominant circulating strain in positive cases and seems to be active in all states we received submissions from except for WA and NT.

Calicivirus was detected in 34% of our samples. We urge domestic rabbit owners to continue to be cautious despite the low prevalence of detected virus:

  • Decontaminate hands, shoes and clothing before handling rabbits
  • Keep your pet rabbit indoors
  • Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials including cages, hutches, bowls etc, with either 10% bleach, 10% sodium hydroxide, or a parvocidal disinfectant such as F10SC or Virkon
  • Control insects (especially flies) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors
  • Rabbit-proof your backyard to prevent access by wild rabbits
  • Limit contact between and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits

Additionally, pet rabbits should be vaccinated with Cylap® or Filavac® (AVA). Please note that it will take a few weeks for rabbits to build up their immunity following vaccination.

If you suspect a rabbit may have died of calicivirus, you can request a free test kit by sending an email to rabbitcalicivirus@csiro.au with your postal address.


Myxoma virus testing

We have also seen an uptick in requests for myxoma virus testing, primarily in NSW and VIC. 11% of our samples tested positive for myxoma virus. We encourage submitters to only submit samples when the rabbits are displaying the typical clinical signs of myxomatosis: swelling around the face and genitals, ocular discharges, lethargy. Unlike rabbit calicivirus testing, the preferred samples for testing are eyelids and skin lesions.

If you would like to request a myxoma virus testing kit, please email us at RabbitCalicivirus@csiro.au


Location of submitted cases for calicivirus testing in February 2024.


Location of submitted cases for calicivirus testing in March 2024.