January 2024 Update

February 5th, 2024

In case you may have missed it, we are pleased to advise that we have received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to continue our free national testing service. This is excellent news as for the past year, testing had been funded internally by CSIRO, which has had impacts on our results turnaround. Now with the funding, our team will be able to expedite testing for urgent cases.

Further, we have also been notified that there is currently a shortage of K5 vials for biocontrol. We have been advised that the shortage will continue until end of March / early April.

In December and January, we received submissions from NSW, VIC, WA, QLD, TAS and SA. 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 SA.

Calicivirus was detected in 55% of our samples. With the majority of samples testing positive, we urge domestic rabbit owners to continue to be cautious:

  • 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.

Location of submitted cases for calicivirus testing in December 2023 and January 2024.