Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a member of the Lagovirus genus in the Caliciviridae family. This species of virus is associated with infection of rabbits and hares (lagomorphs) that can cause epidemics with high mortality. In recent years, there have been devastating outbreaks among pet rabbits in the UK.
There are 11 genera in the Caliciviridae family. Many people will be familiar with members of the Norovirus genus that are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in people (‘winter vomiting disease’). Feline calicivirus, a common cause of respiratory disease in cats, is a notable member of the genus Vesivirus.
Our research and its impact
We currently have a project funded by the Journal of Comparative Pathology and PetPlan Charitable Trust to study the rabbit haemorrhagic disease viruses currently circulating in the UK and the disease they cause. Giulia Scarin is conducting this research as part of her Masters in Veterinary Medicine pathology training programme under the supervision of Dr Kerstin Baiker (formerly a pathologist at Nottingham ) and Professor Janet Daly.