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TRANSACTIONS MYXOMATOSIS IN EAST

SUFFOLK

By I. HASLAM, Chief Officer (Pests), East Suffolk Agricultural Executive Committee Myxomatosis was first reported in England in October 1953 in Kent. The first outbreak in East Suffolk occurred on the 2nd December 1953 at Easton Bavents near Southwold ; it is probable that the disease had been in evidence for at least a fortnight before it was confirmed. The next reported outbreak was on the Ist April 1954 at Stratford St. Mary. Subsequent outbreaks were confirmed as follows :— 29.4.54. 4.5.54. 1.6.54. 2.6.54. 9.6.54. 30.6.54.

Mendham. Kesgrave Woods. Worlingworth. Nettlestead. Leiston. Lt. Glemham.

By the 23rd November 1954 myxomatosis had spread over the whole of the county. Mosquitoes and fleas were mainly responsible for its spread, which was more rapid during hot weather. If anything, the disease appeared to be more virulent in the Stratford St. Mary outbreak than was the case at Easton Bavents. Mortality was quicker and more widespread where there were large colonies of rabbits. Those which escaped the initial outbreaks in any particular area appeared to be fairly healthy so long as they remained in the corn, or in kale, but once they got back into the fences, then they themselves began to succumb. There was reason to suppose that a few of the reported outbreaks were caused by people carrying infected rabbits about, but it does not appear that this factor materially affected the final result to any extent. Myxomatosis also infected tarne rabbits, frequently with the most peculiar results. For instance, there was one hutch of two rabbits situated immediately above another hutch of six or seven rabbits ; one of the two rabbits got myxomatosis and died, and subsequently the rabbits beneath all died, but the one which was in the hutch with the first rabbit failed to contract the disease.


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MYXOMATOSIS IN EAST . SUFFOLK

It is yet to be proved that there are immune rabbits in East Suffolk, but it is likely that a very small percentage have had the disease and recovered, in which case they may be immune, although to what extent their progeny have acquired immunity is a matter of conjecture. The first known outbreak of myxomatosis in 1955 was at Hoxne on the 26th April. The next was at Frostenden on the 26th May and since then the disease has been found at Syleham, Blythburgh, Benacre and Corton. It is quite likely that it is more widespread than is at present realised, because it is obvious that one or two rabbits could die somewhere in the middle of a wood and nobody be any the wiser. If myxomatosis continues to spread this year, the result is not likely to be very spectacular, as the exsisting rabbit population is so thin on the ground that the possibility of their getting the infection is rather remote. Small pockets of rabbits have reappeared in practically every parish. They seem almost invariably to be " surface " rabbits and are extremely difficult to locate. They appear to be almost scentless, as dogs which hitherto have been able to find them with little difficulty are now unable to do much with them. If this is so, it may to some extent explain why surviving rabbits have been able to escape the attention of predators such as foxes, stoats and weasels. There have been reports of hares being affected with myxomatosis, but so far there is no proof of this. Either the hares have been dead too long or they had disappeared before anyone could find them. Damage by foxes does not appear to have been very different from either years, taking into account the prolonged and, at times, severe winter. They seem to have turned their attentions very largely to rats, water hens, etc. Many young stoats in 1954 did not survive and died of starvation and possibly enteritis. This year stoats and weasels seem to have been particularly active in destroying the eggs and young of small birds which nest within a reasonable distance of the ground. I . HASLAM.

August,

1955.

Mr. N. W. Newell, the Pest Officer of the West Suffolk Agricultural Executive Committee has kindly supplied the following information about myxomatosis in that county. The disease was first reported in May, 1954, at two places, Stoke by Nayland and Herringswell. At Stoke the disease had spread from an outbreak in Essex, the Herringswell outbreak was a new one. The disease spread very quickly and had appeared in many รถf the adjoining parishes within a month. It had covered the whole County by October, 1954. No evidence has been found of any immune rabbits.


PLANTAGO

VULGARE—FASCIATED

sent by H. J. Boreham Photo by S. Beaufoy


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MYXOMATOSIS IN EAST SUFFOLK

No major outbreaks have been reported this year, but one diseased rabbit was pickedup in the HerringswellareainMay, 1955. No evidence has been found of foxes doing more damage than usual but the public, in particular poultry keepers, appear to be far more fox conscious than before the spread of myxomatosis. N . W. NEWELL, August, 1955.

THE SUFFOLK CRAG By

D.

F.

W.

BADEN-POWELL,

M.A., B.Sc.,

F.G.S.

As all Suffolk geologists know, the Crag is a much-investigated deposit. The history of research on the subject has been somewhat uneven, as spurts of activity and new discovery have alternated with periods of quiescence. In recent decades there has been an acceleration in our work on these beds, and the purpose of this article is to summarise what has been found out in the last 30 years or so, and to indicate what might be done in the future. Before the nineteenth Century, many writers alluded to the Crag mainly in connection with its importance in agriculture, and it was not until the 1830's that geologists began to pay detailed attention to this formation. About this time Lyell published his famous recognition of the great antiquity of the Crag, based on the presence of extinct shells, and Charlesworth (1835) realised that " the Crag " is not all of one age, and gave the names Coralline Crag, Red Crag and Norwich Crag to the three main divisions ; these designations have been used ever since his time. This period of initial activity was followed by less eventful work which included attempts by Prestwich to identify detailed layers over wide areas. By 1866, Searles Wood had shown that Prestwich's sub-zones could not be followed in the way he suggested, and established three divisions of the Red Crag which could be recognised by their shells ; these are now known to us as the Walton, Newbourne and Butley Crags. The various Monographs of the Palaeontographical Society by Wood, Harmer and others are a record of the diligent collecting of fossils which was carried out between the 1870's and the 1920's ; as early as 1872 (in the " Supplement to the Crag Mollusca ") the main faunal lists had been recorded. No attempt will be made here to give references to the numerous papers on the Crag, a mere list of these would occupy more space than the whole of this article : however, in the following paragraphs a few references will be given to papers which deal with recent research, so that geologists may have some idea of contemporary work.

Myxomatosis in East Suffolk  
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