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March 21, 1966


JAMA. 1966;195(12):1052-1053. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100120120035

Once upon a time, before spring was silent, the rabbits of South America had a benign virus disease called infectious myxomatosis, which was transmitted by an arthropod. When the virus was injected intradermally a tumorous lesion was provoked, rich in myxomatous cells with much glairy intracellular fluid. The rabbits recovered from the bite.

Once upon a time, the mongoose was introduced into Hawaii, to devour the rats that had been introduced into the islands by Captain Cook. Both rats and mongooses now thrive in the Paradise of the Pacific. A similar experiment was performed in Australia, where the herbivorous rabbit eats the antipodean vegetation as fast as it grows. The myxomatosis virus was introduced, to destroy the lush Australian rabbit. Now both rabbit and myxomatosis virus flourish in Australia.

It had already been known that European rabbits infected with myxomatosis virus curled up their cottontails and died of the infection

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