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Lack of serological evidence for venereal spirochaetosis in wild Victorian rabbits and the susceptibility of laboratory rabbits to Treponema paraluis-cuniculi.
  1. S R Graves,
  2. J W Edmonds,
  3. R C Shepherd

    Abstract

    Sera from 608 wild rabbits were examined using serological tests for syphilis as an indicator of infection with Treponema paraluis-cuniculi. Only eight sera gave positive or weakly positive results in the rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test, and none of these eight sera gave positive results in the Treponema pallidum haemagglutination assay (TPHA). Thus, it appears that wild rabbit populations in Victoria, Australia, are not naturally infected with T paraluis-cuniculi. Normal Australian laboratory rabbits however were readily infected with T paraluis-cuniculi, either by intradermal or intratesticular inoculation or by the venereal route. In the latter case, treponeme-containing lesions developed after about five months' cohabitation with infected mates. The disease was successfully transmitted from male to female and from female to male rabbits by the venereal route. In most cases infected rabbits became RPR-positive (17/19 rabbits) and in all cases TPHA-positive (19/19), indicating that serological tests for syphilis can be used to screen rabbits for this disease.

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