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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.