The viral infection is transmitted by fleas, and the symptoms are distressing: the rabbits' eyelids fill with pus and swell up until the victims can no longer see. They then blunder about, running headlong into fences or undergrowth, unable to find their burrows. Although they continue to eat, they grow thinner and thinner, until they are skin and bone, finally dying. After each epidemic, the predators that normally live on rabbits - foxes, stoats, buzzards - survive by switching to other forms of prey such as voles until the population builds up again.
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