Arch Virol (2006) 151: 1659–1666
Phylogenetic analysis of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus
(RHDV) strains isolated between 1988 and 2003
in eastern Hungary
, K. Ursu
, S. Kecskem
, E. Bajm
, and I. Kiss
Central Veterinary Institute, Institute of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary
Central Veterinary Institute, Budapest, Hungary
Received August 18, 2005; accepted January 17, 2006
Published online March 9, 2006
Summary. To deﬁne the genetic variability of RHDV strains collected in eastern
Hungary, liver samples from rabbits that had died of RHD were collected between
1988 and 2003. The phylogenetic analysis of a 528-nucleotide-long portion of the
gene encoding the VP60 capsid protein assigned the strains into three genogroups.
The ﬁrst group contained viruses from 1988–1993, and a second group comprised
isolates from 1994–2002. A third group comprised all of the tested representatives
of the RHDVa subtype and a Hungarian isolate from 2003. These ﬁndings were
supported by the alignments of the deduced amino acid sequences of the VP60
gene and strongly suggest the presence of the RHDVa subtype in Hungary.
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a member of the genus Lagovirus
of the family Caliciviridae. It is most closely related to European brown hare
syndrome virus (EBHSV) which is highly pathogenic for hares. RHDV is an
icosahedral nonenveloped, positive-sense single-stranded polyadenylated RNA
virus with an about 7.4-kb-long genomic RNA . Attempts to propagate the
virus in vitro have been unsuccessful.
RHDV is an infectious and virulent pathogen for Oryctolagus cuniculus. The
virus was ﬁrst described in China in 1984 and was demonstrated in domestic
rabbits imported from Germany . Due to its highly contagious nature and
Note: Nucleotide sequence data reported are available in the GenBank databases under
the accession numbers listed in Table 1.