Progress on the release - one month on!
You will by now of course know that RHDV1 K5 has been released nationally, the first new rabbit biocontrol agent in 20 years.
We thank you for your support in the program so far and to the many of you who have reported disease and sent in samples to our labs - so we can monitor its movement and impact.
Where are we at, one month on?
While it is important to note it is early days in regards to data collection and commenting on effectiveness, we can provide a quick snapshot of results so far:
What does this mean?
- RHDV1 K5 releases have occurred in every state and territory within Australia.
- A number of tissue samples have been sent in from release sites and of the samples that have been tested since the release, 66% have been confirmed RHDV1 K5 through our laboratories (red dots on map).
- Post-release population counts are occurring throughout April at release sites across the country – this will provide immediate post-release information about the impact of the virus on rabbit populations. This data will be analysed towards the end of April and throughout May so stay tuned.
We currently can confirm that rabbits are dying from RHDV1 K5 but we can't yet confirm impact on rabbit populations.
We are still encouraging everyone to report either dead rabbits or evidence of disease via RabbitScan and where possible to submit a tissue sample. This is the only way we will be able to officially detect RHDV1 K5.
These reports will then be added to the Rabbit Biocontrol Tracker. Yellow dots are reports of disease, with the red dots being confirmed RHDV1 K5 samples - so far.
Virus activity will start to slow down over winter, but then we should see a resurgence during spring. It is important to continue to collect samples from dead rabbits during this time as finding dead rabbits from RHDV1 K5 will be confirmation that is has established.
We also encourage all landholders to start to think about follow up control techniques post release of the virus and to talk with your local biosecurity officers and land managers in regards to making the best out of the virus release.
Map provided through the Rabbit Biocontrol Tracker - correct as of March 29, 2017