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(veterinary medicine)
A virus disease of rabbits producing fever, skin lesions resembling myxomas, and mucoid swelling of mucous membranes.



an acute viral disease of rabbits characterized by conjunctivitis and formation of edematous-gelatinous tumors of subcutaneous tissue in the head and scrotum. Myxomatosis was discovered and described by G. Sanarelli in Uruguay in 1898. Cases have been reported in America and Australia; the disease was imported into Europe in 1952. Rabbits and hares are susceptible to the disease. The source of the causative agent is an infected animal. Biting arthropod insects (mosquitoes, fleas, sandflies) play the principal role in the spread of myxomatosis. The course of the disease is acute. The skin becomes edematous and gathers into folds, and the ears droop. The swelling of the eyes and the front part of the head gives diseased rabbits a characteristic “leonine look.” Mortality is 90–100 percent. There is no specific remedy for the disease. Recovery imparts permanent immunity.

Farms on which myxomatosis is discovered are declared infected. All diseased rabbits, as well as those rabbits suspected of having or transmitting the disease, are slaughtered, and their carcasses are burned. The meat of rabbits suspected of being infected is disinfected by boiling.

References in periodicals archive ?
It has since been widely used as a vaccine against myxomatosis in rabbits in France and other countries in Europe.
PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Sean Wensley said: "The effects of the myxomatosis virus are very distressing to witness and are usually fatal.
Although quite successful at first, myxomatosis gradually became less effective, particularly in the country's dry rangelands.
Myxomatosis has been a threat to wild and domestic rabbits ever since.
Every year I euthanise significant numbers of rabbits that have caught the devastatingly fatal but preventable disease known as myxomatosis.
The devastation of myxomatosis I AM writing with regard to your interesting article concerning the apparent come-back of the poor little rabbit.
Thanks to the country which brought us the cuckoo clock and the only knife you can disembowel a burglar with and file your nails at the same time, I've spent the last few days seriously depleting the rabbit stocks by administering my own brand of melt-in-themouth myxomatosis.
Victoria Sturgeon paid PS60 to have her four children's giant pedigree rabbits vaccinated against the killer disease myxomatosis.
Rabbits can suffer from a number of health problems : Myxomatosis is a life-threatening virus affecting both outdoor and house rabbits.
Pet rabbits usually have to get three separate injections to prevent deadly diseases such as myxomatosis.
Frank's classic work on myxomatosis culminated in his classic 1948 paper (2).
All the bunnies have been neutered and vaccinated against myxomatosis.