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What are the effects of Calicivirus As rabbit calicivirus kills rabbits quickly and the rabbits die quietly there are usually no obvious signs of disease in a rabbit that has died from the virus Some signs may be asessed but reliable diagnosis of the disease can only be made from lab tests on a piece of rabbit liver or spleen Possible indications of the disease The coat and body of the rabbit appear in good condition with no outward signs of disease Watery fluid may run from the nose and mouth - this will be blood stained if the rabbit has been dead for more than about 12 hours The rabbits liver may appear pale and swollen friable The spleen will be dark and enlarged at least two-fold The kidneys may appear dark and enlarged What was the success of release in Australia The initial impact of rabbit calicivirus in many arid areas of Australia has been a large drop in rabbit numbers In parts of Western Australia Northern Territory and South Australia rabbit populations fell by about 95 within a few weeks of being affected by the virus In other areas the results have been more unsuccesfull and more research is needed to understand how the virus operates in different land systems and climatic conditions How does the virus spread The virus mainly spreads in two ways1 spotting where it jumps long distances via a vector such as an insect is involved and 2 infilling where it is transmitted from rabbit-to-rabbit via contact with infected rabbits or their faeces The rate of spread seems to be affected by climatic conditions More research is being conducted to better understand how the virus is transmitted Where was it tested and released Australian trials started in March 1995 on Wardang Island These were designed to provide more information about the effectiveness of the virus including the
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