The Ugly Face of Myxomatosis

Rabbit infected with Myxomatosis

It has been over twenty years since I last saw a case of myxomatosis, sometimes known as the mixie or myxo, and I had hope it would be longer before I did again. Alas, the other day in Peralvillo I noticed a rabbit who just didn’t seem right and on closer inspection through binoculars my suspicions were confirmed. The myxie is back. Not only does it cause a horrible death for the rabbits, it is also a danger to those animals which feed on rabbits and has been responsible for the severe decline of two of Spains emblematic predators of rabbits, the Spanish Imperial Eagle and the Iberian Lynx.

Rabbit infected with Myxomatosis

The disease is spread by direct contact with an affected animal or by being bitten by fleas or mosquitoes that have fed on an infected rabbit. The myxomatosis virus does not replicate in these insect hosts, but can be physically carried by an insect’s mouthparts, i.e. from an infected rabbit to another susceptible animal.

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