Biology Faculty Articles

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1990

Publication Title

Journal of Virology

ISSN

0022-538X

Volume

64

Issue/No.

5

First Page

1964

Last Page

1972

Abstract

The extent and progression of exposure to feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) virus in the cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, was monitored by a world-wide serological survey with indirect fluorescent antibody titers to coronavirus. The indirect fluorescent antibody assay was validated by Western blots, which showed that all indirect fluorescent antibody-positive cheetah sera detected both domestic cat and cheetah coronavirus structural proteins. There was a poor correlation between indirect fluorescent antibody results and the presence of coronaviruslike particles in cheetah feces, suggesting that electron microscopic detection of shed particles may not be an easily interpreted diagnostic parameter for FIP disease. Low, but verifiable (by Western blots [immunoblots]) antibody titers against coronavirus were detected in eight free-ranging cheetahs from east Africa as well as from captive cheetahs throughout the world. Of 20 North American cheetah facilities screened, 9 had cheetahs with measurable antibodies to feline coronavirus. Five facilities showed patterns of an ongoing epizootic. Retrospective FIP virus titers of an FIP outbreak in a cheetah-breeding facility in Oregon were monitored over a 5-year period and are interpreted here in terms of clinical disease progression. During that outbreak the morbidity was over 90% and the mortality was 60%, far greater than any previously reported epizootic of FIP in any cat species. Age of infection was a significant risk factor in this epizootic, with infants (less than 3 months old) displaying signfficantly higher risk for mortality than subadults or adults. Based upon these observations, empirical generalizations are drawn which address epidemiologic concerns for cheetahs in the context of this lethal infectious agent.

Comments

©1990, American Society for Microbiology

ORCID ID

0000-0001-7353-8301

ResearcherID

N-1726-2015

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