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Vet Microbiol. 2004 Mar 26;99(1):31-42.

Prevalence of feline coronavirus types I and II in cats with histopathologically verified feline infectious peritonitis.

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Clinical Virology Group, Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria.


Feline coronaviruses (FCoV) vary widely in virulence causing a spectrum of clinical manifestations reaching from subclinical course to fatal feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Independent of virulence variations they are separated into two different types, type I, the original FCoV, and type II, which is closely related to canine coronavirus (CCV). The prevalence of FCoV types in Austrian cat populations without FIP has been surveyed recently indicating that type I infections predominate. The distribution of FCoV types in cats, which had succumbed to FIP, however, was fairly unknown. PCR assays have been developed amplifying parts of the spike protein gene. Type-specific primer pairs were designed, generating PCR products of different sizes. A total of 94 organ pools of cats with histopathologically verified FIP was tested. A clear differentiation was achieved in 74 cats, 86% of them were type I positive, 7% type II positive, and 7% were positive for both types. These findings demonstrate that in FIP cases FCoV type I predominates, too, nonetheless, in 14% of the cases FCoV type II was detected, suggesting its causative involvement in cases of FIP.

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