Myxomatosis is an infectious virus that was originally discovered in 1896 from imported rabbits that came from Uruguay. The death causing virus can spread by straight interaction with an affected animal. Infected fleas and mosquitoes can also spread the deadly virus. The effects of this virus are fever, conjunctivitis, possible blindness, lumps near head and genitals, pneumonia and eventually death. Death can take place anywhere from 14 days to 48 hours after infection.
In 1938, Australia used the virus for population control. Later, in 1950, they did a huge test on the virus and took the population of rabbits from 600 million down to 100 million in only two years. That’s a death of 500 million due to the release of the virus. A few decades later, genetic resistance was found and the virus began to only terminate about 50% of the infected amount. In 1996 they introduced a second virus, referred to as Rabbit Calicivirus, to increase the termination amount.
There is a pet rabbit vaccine against the virus that can be used in other areas but is not permitted in Australia. The authorities concern is that the virus in the injection has the potency to extend to the wild rabbit population thus causing immunity to the deadly virus which undermines its use.