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J Virol. 1994 May;68(5):3380-5.

Feline immunodeficiency virus can be experimentally transmitted via milk during acute maternal infection.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27606.


Postnatal transmission of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in neonates nursed by acutely infected mothers and infection resulting from oral inoculation of kittens with FIV were evaluated. Ten of 16 kittens nursed by four queens with FIV infection established immediately postpartum developed FIV infection. Five of 11 neonates orally administered cell-free FIV culture supernatant developed FIV infection. Kittens that developed FIV infection had greater proportions of CD4+ and Pan-T+ lymphocytes at birth than negative kittens. Infectious virus was recovered from the milk of acutely infected mothers. We conclude that FIV may be experimentally transmitted via milk from queens with acute infections and that oral administration of FIV to neonatal kittens results in infection.

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