RESEARCH PAPER
EBHS in European brown hares (Lepus europaeus): disease dynamics and control
 
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1
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia ed Emilia Romagna, Via Bianchi 7/9, 25124 Brescia, Italy
2
CNR-IMATI, via Bassini 15, 20133 Milano, Italy
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Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Via Ca’ Fornacetta 9, 40064 Ozzano dell’Emilia, Bologna, Italy
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DMMT, Università degli Studi di Brescia, viale Europa 11, 25123 Brescia, Italy
Online publish date: 2017-12-07
Publish date: 2017-12-31
 
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2017;28(2):202–207
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ABSTRACT:
Brown hares have undergone a substantial population decline in Europe during recent decades, caused by, among other factors, the occurrence of European Brown Hare Syndrome (EBHS). To improve our knowledge regarding EBHS epidemiology, we developed a mathematical model that takes into consideration both brown hare biology and the infection dynamics of the EBHS virus (EBHSV). The model consists of eight ordinary differential equations simulating the spread of the virus in a closed hare population. Simulations showed that EBHSV’s transmission has complex dynamics, which are strongly affected by the hare density. In particular, a density threshold of 7 individuals/km2 was identified, determining two opposite epidemiological patterns: the extinction of the EBHSV below the threshold and its endemic stability when the hare population density is above the threshold, with a seroprevalence proportional to the population density. The model was validated using serological data collected in different areas in the province of Brescia (Northern Italy). The results suggested that the maintenance of the endemic circulating viral level through density control mechanisms is the best strategy for reducing EBHS’s impact.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Mario Chiari   
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia ed Emilia Romagna, Via Bianchi 7/9, 25124 Brescia, Italy
eISSN:1825-5272
ISSN:0394-1914