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J Feline Med Surg. 2017 Dec;19(12):1206-1214. doi: 10.1177/1098612X16686728. Epub 2017 Jan 23.

Frequency, clinicopathological features and phylogenetic analysis of feline morbillivirus in cats in Istanbul, Turkey.

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1 Department of Virology, University of Istanbul, Veterinary Faculty, Avcilar, Istanbul, Turkey.
2 Department of Pathology, University of Istanbul, Veterinary Faculty, Avcilar, Istanbul, Turkey.
3 Department of Virology, University of Cukurova, Veterinary Faculty, Ceyhan, Adana, Turkey.
4 Cevre Analysis Laboratory, Istanbul, Turkey.
5 Animal Health Department, Regional Campus of International Excellence 'Campus Mare Nostrum', Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain.
6 University of Bristol, Langford Veterinary Services, Bristol, UK.
7 Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA.


Objectives The aim of the study was to investigate feline morbillivirus (FmoPV) frequency, phylogeny and associated pathology in cats in Istanbul, Turkey. Methods Samples from sick (n = 96) and dead ( n = 15) cats were analysed using reverse transcription PCR. Blood and urine analyses and histopathology were also performed. Results FmoPV RNA was detected in six cats (5.4%), including three sick (in the urine) and three dead cats (tissues). A significantly greater proportion of FmoPV RNA-positive cats had street access compared with non-infected cats. Blood samples from the morbillivirus-positive cats were negative for morbillivirus RNA. Tubular parenchymal cells, lymphoid and plasma cells in kidney and hepatocytes, lymphoid and plasma cells in liver from dead cats were also positive by immunohistochemistry for the viral N protein. Two FmoPV-positive cats were also positive for feline coronavirus RNA and one cat for feline immunodeficiency virus RNA and feline leukaemia virus proviral DNA. Phylogenetic analysis of the six FmoPV-positive cats showed that the strains were grouped into cluster D and had high similarity (98.5-100%) with strains from Japan and Germany. In the three FmoPV RNA-positive sick cats, respiratory, urinary and digestive system signs were observed as well as weight loss, fever and depression in some cats. Similar clinical signs were also seen in the morbillivirus RNA-negative sick cats. FmoPV RNA-positive cats had lower median red blood cell count, haemoglobin, albumin, albumin/globulin and urobilinogen and higher alanine transaminase, alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin compared with non-infected cats. Significant histopathology of FmoPV RNA-positive dead cats included tubulointerstitial nephritis characterised by severe granular and vacuolar degeneration of the epithelial cells of the cortical and medullary tubules as well as mononuclear cell infiltrates. Widespread lymphoid cell infiltrates were detected in the renal cortex and medullary regions of the kidneys. Cellular infiltration, cholangiohepatitis and focal necrosis in the liver were also found. Although virus-infected cells were found in the kidney and liver of FmoRV RNA-positive cats, tubulointerstitial nephritis, cholangiohepatitis and focal necrosis seen in FmoRV RNA-positive cats were similar to those observed in FmoRV RNA-negative cats. Conclusions and relevance This is the first study to show the presence of FmoPV infection in cats in Turkey. Sick cats, particularly those with kidney disease, should be tested for this virus. The genotypes found in this study were similar to previously reported strains, indicating that circulating morbilliviruses in Turkey are conserved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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