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 Subject: Update on Rabbit Calici Virus Date: Thursday, April 13, 2000 5:47 PM 

Dear Fellow ARBA Members: Following is a summary of a conference call which I participated in today with USDA/APHIS representatives: Additional laboratory information has been received from Spain and Italy concerning samples collected from the rabbits which were on the outbreak site in Iowa. The DNA testing [Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)] has verified the virus in the outbreak has approximately 85-90% compatibility (homology) with the known DNA sequence of Rabbit Calici Virus. The Western Blot (a test to evaluate the protein) has shown the isolate from the outbreak to be 94.7% similar to the strains from Germany, Austria and Sweden. Monoclonal antibody (Mab) testing has shown the isolate from the outbreak to be similar to virus previously isolated in Italy and Germany, but dissimilar to isolates from Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, it appears the Iowa isolate is more closely related to European isolates. The site of the outbreak in Iowa is still under quarantine. There are no rabbits on the site but due to a "burning ban" in the county the hutches have not been destroyed yet. Plans are being made to possibly bury the hutches. Since some rabbits were allow to roam free it will be impossible to disinfect the area. Therefore, it is anticipated that sunlight and heat will be able to inactivate the virus. In the future sentinels (susceptible rabbits that are negative for Rabbit Calici Virus) may be placed on the farm to determine if the virus is still present. However, depending on the status of future outbreaks this activity may be several weeks to months away. The government hopes to provide a news release tomorrow (April 14, 2000). As soon as it is received the ARBA website will be updated. As always, remain calm and continue to collect information. Your decision to move rabbits to a show should be based on risk assessment. Best regards, Chris Hayhow ARBA President

 

2001 National Rex Rabbit Club

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