Epidemiology and surveillance
Distribution of susceptible species (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Tunisia, Algeria)
With this SO we intend to determine hotspots of outbreaks and identify susceptible leporid species (rabbits and hares), particularly in North Africa. This information will be obtained through ongoing collaborations or projects (e.g. synergy with WWF Spain, Dr. Ramón Perez-Ayala); ongoing monitoring projects (e.g. +Coelho in Portugal); hunting and farmers associations; regional authorities; producers associations/integrated companies (e.g. Dr. Chakroun Chehid from Interprofessional Group of Poultry and Cuniculture Products, Tunisia; Association des cuniculteurs algériens, Algeria).
Current extent of disease
Lagovirus diagnostic and identification in the geographic regions under study will be carried out using ELISA and PCR-based approaches on the samples collected within SO1.1. Additionally, serological surveillance will be conducted to monitor circulation of RHD and establish the percentage of exposed animals. Since the presence of non-pathogenic lagoviruses might interfere with the results and the conclusions drawn, new methods will be developed to distinguish between pathogenic and non- pathogenic lagoviruses positive serologies. These analyses will provide data on geographical variations regarding RHD prevalence, which could be relevant to adopt adequate control measures in the Mediterranean basin.