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Vet Res. 2007 Mar-Apr;38(2):337-54. Epub 2007 Feb 13.

Feline herpesvirus.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Chester High Road, Neston, S. Wirral, CH64 7TE, United Kingdom.


Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1; felid herpesvirus 1 (FeHV-1)) is an alphaherpesvirus of cats closely related to canine herpesvirus-1 and phocine herpesvirus-1. There is only one serotype of the virus and it is relatively homogenous genetically. FeHV-1 is an important cause of acute upper respiratory tract and ocular disease in cats. In addition, its role in more chronic ocular disease and skin lesions is increasingly being recognised. Epidemiologically, FeHV-1 behaves as a typical alphaherpesvirus whereby clinically recovered cats become latently infected carriers which undergo periodic episodes of virus reactivation, particularly after a stress. The primary site of latency is the trigeminal ganglion. Conventional inactivated and modified-live vaccines are available and protect reasonably well against disease but not infection, although viral shedding may be reduced. Genetically engineered vaccines have also been developed, both for FeHV-1 and as vector vaccines for other pathogens, but none is as yet marketed.

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