Friday, August 24, 2007


You might have read my posts on Mosquitos this summer, and how the population of these flies has boomed because of the weather we've had this year.
Today on the news it has been reported that now, thanks to the vast increase in numbers of mosquitos, cases of Myxamatosis (in rabbits, both wild and domestic) have increased markedly.
Mosquitos are the natural vectors for this disease (along with the rabbit flea), so this sudden surge in reported cases was expected.
I've just taken my first call from a very concerned member of public regarding a neighbours pet rabbit, a call taken because the reporter couldn't get through on DEFRAs phone line. Luckily I take an interest in such things, so was able to inform the reporter about the current situation.

On YOUR travels, should you look (or be at all interested or indeed bothered), you may well see (more) rabbits with Myxamatosis.
It should be pointed out here that whilst Myxamatosis virtually wiped out the rabbit population in the 1960s in Britain, nobody expects a return of that situation - there is absolutely no need to be overly concerned, or if you are a farmer, overjoyed!
Because we introduced Myxamatosis into the UK***, and because we have Mosquitos and rabbits have fleas, it never disappeared totally, many rabbits have become immune to the disease, and it is now, effectively (and depending on your point of view, unfortunately or fortunately) entirely natural.
It is not particularly pleasant to see wild rabbits lollop around with eyes full of pus - I've seen many in my travels, but (thanks to us***) it is here to stay.

I just thought The Black Rabbit should mention it...

*** There are still arguments raging as to whether "Myxi" first appeared in Britain (Kent) in 1953 as an "accident" or whether it was effectively introduced. What is certain though, is that it first appeared in Uruguay, was trialled as a method of biological control in the UK and Australia in 1919, was deliberately introduced to France, and was let to run riot in Britain after the government realised they could pretty well do bugger all about it, and of course, farmers had no qualms at all in letting it wipe out 99% of the UKs rabbits. The main vector in Myxi is the rabbit flea, but mosquitos will spread the disease also.

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