Field experimental vaccination campaigns against myxomatosis and their effectiveness in the wild

Catarina Ferreira, Esther Ramirez, Francisca Castro, Pablo Ferreras, Paulo Celio Alves, Steve Redpath, Rafael Villafuerte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted a field experiment in SW Spain to test the efficacy of a myxomatosis vaccine, a viral disease strongly affecting wild rabbit populations, by assessing individual survival and antibody seroprevalence of monthly live-trapped, vaccinated (N = 466) and unvaccinated (N = 558)juvenile wild rabbits, between April and October 2007. Eight percent of all juveniles caught from April to June showed maternal antibodies against myxomatosis, whereas all animals were seropositive to the disease after the outbreak. juveniles vaccinated before the outbreak showed 17% higher survival (31% vs. 14%) and an increased mortality probability of 8% after the outbreak. Results suggest that only a costly and systematic vaccination performed before the annual myxomatosis outbreak, would improve the survival of juvenile rabbits, a premise not always accomplished that compromises its efficacy in the field. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6998-7002
Number of pages5
Issue number50
Early online date1 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2009


  • myxomatosis
  • vaccination
  • survival
  • rabbit hemorrhagic-disease
  • oryctolagus-cuniculus
  • European rabbits
  • mortality-rates
  • populations
  • Spain
  • conservation
  • virus
  • management

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