Epidemiology of Pathogenic Retroviruses and Domestic Cat Hepadnavirus in Community and Client-Owned Cats in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Yan Ru Choi
  • Fiona. M. Woodhouse
  • Jane J. Gray
  • Regina Hofmann-Lehmann

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number167
Journal / PublicationViruses
Volume16
Issue number2
Online published23 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Link(s)

Abstract

Understanding the local epidemiology of feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in Hong Kong will inform retrovirus prevention strategies. Domestic cat hepadnavirus (DCH), a novel hepatitis-B-like virus, is commonly detected among client-owned cats in Hong Kong, but community cats have not been studied. The aims of this study were to investigate the frequency and potential risk factors for (i) FeLV and FIV among community and client-owned cats and (ii) perform molecular detection of DCH among community cats in Hong Kong. Blood samples from 713 cats were obtained from client-owned (n = 415, residual diagnostic) and community cats (n = 298, at trap-neuter-return). Point-of-care (POC) testing for FeLV antigen and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) anti-p15 and p24 antibodies was performed. FeLV-positive samples were progressed to p27 sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Whole blood DNA was tested with qPCRs for FeLV U3 and gag, and nested PCRs where additional information was required. DCH qPCR was performed on a subset of community cats (n = 193). A single, regressive, FeLV infection was detected in a client-owned cat (1/415 FeLV U3 qPCR positive, 0.2%, 95% CI 0.0–1.3%). Five/415 client-owned cats tested presumably false FeLV-antigen positive (qPCR negative). No markers of FeLV infection were detected in community cats (0/298; 0%). FIV seroprevalence was much higher in community cats (46/298, 15.4%) than in client-owned cats (13/415, 3.1%) (p < 0.001). Mixed breed was a risk factor for FIV infection in client-owned cats. Neither sex nor age were associated with FIV infection. DCH DNA was detected in 34/193 (17.6%) community cats (median viral load 6.32 × 103 copies/reaction). FeLV infection is rare in Hong Kong, negatively impacting the positive predictive value of diagnostic tests. FeLV-antigen testing remains the screening test of choice, but confirmation of a positive result using FeLV qPCR is essential. FIV infection is common in community cats and the absence of a sex predisposition, seen previously in cats managed similarly, raises questions about virus-transmission dynamics in these groups. DCH infection is very common in Hong Kong, both in client-owned and community cats, highlighting the importance of understanding the pathogenic potential of this virus for cats.

© 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Research Area(s)

  • cat, feline, felid, retrovirus, immunodeficiency, leukaemia, virus, hepatitis-B, hepadnavirus

Citation Format(s)

Epidemiology of Pathogenic Retroviruses and Domestic Cat Hepadnavirus in Community and Client-Owned Cats in Hong Kong. / Beatty, Jules A.; Choi, Yan Ru; Nekouei, Omid et al.
In: Viruses, Vol. 16, No. 2, 167, 02.2024.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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