An individual-based model of rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease on European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Ecological Modelling
By: , and 



We developed an individual-based model of Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (RVHD) for European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus L.), representing up to 1000 rabbits in four hectares. Model output for productivity and recruitment matched published values. The disease was density-dependent and virulence affected outcome. Strains that caused death after several days produced greater overall mortality than strains in which rabbits either died or recovered very quickly. Disease effect also depended on time of year. We also elaborated a larger scale model representing 25 km2 and 100,000+ rabbits, split into a number of grid-squares. This was a more traditional model that did not represent individual rabbits, but employed a system of dynamic equations for each grid-square. Disease spread depended on probability of transmission between neighboring grid-squares. Potential recovery from a major population crash caused by the disease relied on disease virulence and frequency of recurrence. The model's dependence on probability of disease transmission between grid-squares suggests the way that the model represents the spatial distribution of the population affects simulation. Although data on RVHD in Europe are lacking, our models provide a basis for describing the disease in realistic detail and for assessing influence of various social and spatial factors on spread.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An individual-based model of rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease on European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Series title Ecological Modelling
DOI 10.1016/S0304-3800(01)00363-5
Volume 144
Issue 2-3
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 18 p.
First page 121
Last page 138
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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