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Vet Microbiol. 2009 May 12;136(3-4):233-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.11.010. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

Genetic diversity and correlation with feline infectious peritonitis of feline coronavirus type I and II: a 5-year study in Taiwan.

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Graduate Institute of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.


The outcomes of feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection vary greatly from asymptomatic or mild enteric infection to fatal feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). On the basis of in vitro neutralization tests, FCoVs can be divided into two serotypes. To explore the correlation between different types of FCoV and FIP, clinical specimens collected from 363 naturally infected cats during 2003-2007 were analyzed. Amplification of a portion of the S gene from the FCoV was performed and a total of 222 cases were differentiated. Among them, 197 (88.7%) cats were type I-positive, 13 (5.9%) were type II-positive, and 12 (5.4%) were positive for both types. Irrespective of the predominance of type I FCoV infection in Taiwan, type II FCoV demonstrated a significantly higher correlation with FIP (p<0.01). Analysis of partial S gene sequences of the local type I and II FCoVs strains revealed that type I viruses were more genetically divergent (6.2-11.7%) than type II viruses (0.6-3.2%) within the 5-year study period. The higher genetic diversity of type I FCoVs might be due to the larger infected cat population and to the long period of viral persistence in asymptomatic cats in comparison to type II viruses.

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