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Rodents and lagomorphs
First cases of myxomatosis in Iberian hares (Lepus granatensis) in Portugal
  1. Carina Luísa Carvalho1,
  2. Fábio Alexandre Abade dos Santos1,2,
  3. Madelena Monteiro3,
  4. Paulo Carvalho3,
  5. Paula Mendonça3 and
  6. Margarida Dias Duarte1,2
  1. 1Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária, Virology Laboratory, Av. da República, Quinta do Marquês (edifício sede), Oeiras, Portugal
  2. 2Centro de Investigação Interdisciplinar em Sanidade Animal (CIISA), Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária, Universidadede Lisboa, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, Lisboa, Portugal
  3. 3Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária (INIAV), Pathology Laboratory, Av. da República, Quinta do Marquês (edifício sede), Oeiras, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Carina Luísa Carvalho; carina.carvalho{at}


Myxomatosis was detected in Iberian hares (Lepus granatensis) in Portugal, October 2018, following its emergence in Spain 3 months earlier. Here, we describe the epidemiological, molecular and anatomo-histopathological data of the first two cases. Myxoma virus DNA was detected in the eyelids, nose and perineal region in both hares. It was also detected in the lungs of hare 1 and in the spleen and liver of hare 2. The genomic insertion identified in strains from Spain was confirmed in both strains suggesting a common origin for the Iberian viruses. Gross lesions in hare 1 included palpebral oedema and conjunctival mucopurulent discharge, common in both forms of the disease in rabbits. Hare 2 presented eyelid thickening with small diffuse nodules. Histopathology of the eyelids showed extracellular myxoid matrix in hare 1 and purulent dermatitis in hare 2. Both animals exhibited good body condition, suggesting a short course of the disease and higher virulence of the virus towards the Iberian hare.

  • Iberian hare
  • Lepus granatensis
  • Myxomatosis
  • Portugal
  • emergence
  • Myxoma virus
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  • Contributors CLC carried out the experimental work regarding the virological detection and wrote the manuscript. FAAdS carried out the differentiating PCR targeting the 2.8-kb insertion. PC, PM and MM carried out the anatomo-histopathological examinations. MDD conceived the experiments, wrote and revised the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and contributed critically to the final document.

  • Funding This work was financed by the Fundo Florestal Permanente (FFP), Portuguese Ministry ofAgriculture (MAFDR)]. Fábio Abade dos Santos holds a PhD grant from Fundação para aCiência e Tecnologia (FCT, SFRH/BD/137067/2018).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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