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Proc Biol Sci. 1997 Jun 22;264(1383):785-94.

Dynamics of two feline retroviruses (FIV and FeLV) within one population of cats.

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  • 1UMR CNRS 5558 Biométrie, Génétique et Biologie des Populations, Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, Villeurbanne, France.


We present a deterministic model of the dynamics of two microparasites simultaneously infecting a single host population. Both microparasites are feline retroviruses, namely Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV). The host is the domestic cat Felis catus. The model has been tested with data generated by a long-term study of several natural cat populations. Stability analysis and simulations show that, once introduced in a population, FIV spreads and is maintained, while FeLV can either disappear or persist. Moreover, introduction of both viruses into the population induces an equilibrium state for individuals of each different pathological class. The viruses never induce the extinction of the population. Furthermore, whatever the outcome for the host population (persistence of FIV only, or of both viruses), the global population size at the equilibrium state is only slightly lower than it would have been in the absence of the infections (i.e. at the carrying capacity), indicating a low impact of the viruses on the population. Finally, the impact of the diseases examined simultaneously is higher than the sum of the impact of the two diseases examined separately. This seems to be due to a higher mortality rate when both viruses infect a single individual.

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