Caused by a coronavirus, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is one of the major viral diseases of Felids. Presumably, there is a strong relationship between the agent of FIP (FIPV) and the enterai coronavirus (FECV) that is generally asymptomatically carried: recent findings indicate that FIPV develop from FECV variants through recombination. Hence the "harmless" FECV-carrier status of clinically healthy animals constitutes real risk factor of developing lethal FIP later on. The key role of cats in the evolution of coronaviruses with structurally related antigens is becoming more and more evident: it is known that feline cells are permissive to all type I coronaviruses and it has also been shown that the development of some FIPV follows from the recombination of feline and canine coronaviruses, presumably in feline hosts. The authors examined 102 domestic cats and 11 Persian cats of a breeding colony to determine the proportion of asymptomatic coronavirus carriers in the clinically healthy cat population. Rectal swab samples were collected and prepared to yield viral nucleic acid for polimerase chain reaction (PCR) involving one of the most conservative segments of the FIPV genome. Thirty-one of the 102 domestic cats were PCR positive, i.e. carriers of a feline coronavirus. The proportion of positives was 35.5% among mixed breed cats, 30.1 % among pure-bred animals and 43.5% among Persian cats. Seven out of the eleven adults (63.6%) of the Persian breeding colony were also PCR positive. Sequencing of the PCR products and their comparison with various FIPV genome segments indicated that most of the cats were infected with FECV. However, some cats were shown to be asymptomatic carriers of FIPV, and in one cat the PCR product showed greatest homology with canine coronavirus. As these results were only one "snapshot" in virus evolution, the authors are planning further and more detailed examinations on the positive animals along with their clinical monitoring to contribute to a better understanding of the biology and evolution of feline coronaviruses that will, hopefully, and ultimately, lead to the manufacture of effective tools for their prevention.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Magyar Allatorvosok Lapja|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 1998|
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