University researchers discover destructive virus in Rabbits

Yusuf Bakare

Some researchers from the better by far University, University of Ilorin has discovered a virus that is allegedly responsible for the high mortality witnessed recently among Rabbits in Nigeria.

This scientific feat was accomplished by an Investigation Team from the Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, as a result of eventuation in the isolation, identification and characterization of deadly Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV).

This detail of this discovery was made by the Director, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Ilorin, Dr I. O. Aiyedun, in a memo he addressed to the University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, a copy of which was made available to our correspondents.

Dr. Aiyedun stated that the Investigation Team, which was headed by Dr Oluwafemi Babatunde Daodu of the Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, has recorded a giant step as it was the first time the contagious and debilitating virus would be identified in Nigeria.

The Director explained that the feat, which was accomplished through the collaboration of the Centre for Human Virology and Genomics, Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR).

Explaining further, Dr. Aiyedun stated that the feat is reportable to the World Organisation for Animal Health to facilitate the possibility of greater international collaboration to wipe off Rabbits’ killer virus from the surface of the earth.

Also speaking, the Leader of the Investigation Team, Dr. Daodu, said that his team gathered that the outbreak of the virus among Rabbits had spread across most states in the Southwest Nigeria.

He added that the postmortem examinations conducted on the tissues, fluids and intestines of living and dead Rabbits showed that the cause of the ongoing virus outbreak among Rabbits population in Nigeria is Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV).

Dr. Daodu explained that the sequence of the virus had been submitted to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) with the accession number MT996357.

He advised that since it was the first time the outbreak of the virus would be identified in Nigeria there is the need for more appropriate sensitisation programme among the farmers with the aim of prevention and control of the spread of this highly contagious disease.

Dr. Daodu also canvassed the allocation of more resources to enable the team identify possible RHDV strains presently circulating in Nigeria. He added that such support will help the team to design and produce standard affordable locally made vaccines rather than importing vaccines, which may not be cross protective. The don added that the virus needed to be attacked for it not to discourage more investment into Rabbit farming with the attendant challenges it would pose on food security and the economic development of the nation.

Pin It on Pinterest