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Virus Res. 1998 Apr;54(2):123-32.

Field evidence for mechanical transmission of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) by flies (Diptera:Calliphoridae) among wild rabbits in Australia.

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Department of Crop Protection, Waite Campus, Glen Osmond, SA, Australia.


Field collected flies were screened for the presence of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) by applying reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) in which primers specific to the capsid protein of the virus were used. The virus was detected in flies from locations where rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) was reported and also soon after the release of RHDV in a 'clean' area. Oral and/or anal excretions of flies (flyspots) were found to contain viable virus and oral inoculation of rabbits revealed that a single flyspot was able to cause RHD. We conclude that flyspots are a major potential source of the virus for oral or conjunctival transmission of the virus to rabbits.

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