MYXOMATOSIS IN SUFFOLK DĂœRING 1956 In East Suffolk the first officially confirmed outbreak of myxomatosis in 1956 was at Blythburgh in November. Since that date it has spread as far as Sizewell and Aldringham and there is another outbreak at Rendlesham. This does not mean that all the rabbits between Blythburgh and Rendlesham are dying from myxomatosis as the disease is only affecting them where there is a sufficient density of rabbits to ensure the spread of the disease, and probably there are many pockets of rabbits in this area which are as yet unaffected. With regard to the possible build up of immunity to myxomatosis, blood samples have been submitted to the Ministry's laboratories from rabbits caught in eight dispersed parishes and so far only one rabbit has been found which would have been immune. There is some evidence that rabbits are beginning to resort more to burrows, but this is probably only the customary spring activity. Generally speaking the bulk of the rabbits are located in scrub or in crops of kale where they have ample cover and food. At one time it appeared that predators, particularly stoats, would severely check the rapid increase in the rabbit population but this does not appear to be the case now. It has also been noticeable that the rabbits in embryo and young litters which have been examined have been mainly female rabbits. Quite a number of rabbits which have been destroyed have been stunted in growth or in bad condition, notwithstanding adequate supplies of food and favourable winter conditions. On one occasion, out of a total of seven rabbits caught, six were blind in one or both eyes. This tendency towards stunted growth and physical defect is, however, not nearly so prevalent as was the case when rabbits first began to build up after myxomatosis. IAN HASLAM,
County Pests Officer, E. Suffolk.
In West Suffolk only one case of myxomatosis was confirmed during 1956. This was at Little Eals Farm, Sedge Fen, Lakenheath, where only three rabbits, one alive and two dead, were picked up on the 16th and 18th of April, 1956. A few other cases were reported but on inspection not confirmed. W. H. NEWELL, Pests Department, West Suffolk Agricultural Executive Committee.