Occurrence of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus in Naturally Infected Domestic Cats
*Valéria Maria Lara, João Pessoa Araújo Jr, Sueli Akemi Taniwaki, Carlos Alberto Magalhães Lopes
*Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia-Universidade Estadual Paulista-UNESP
Botucatu, São Paulo, BR
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is the main retrovirus that infects domestic cats. The infection, as observed in human immunodeficiency virus, is characterized by a long period without signs of disease, followed by increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections. FIV has been detected all over the world. In Europe, its prevalence ranges from 2% (in Germany and The Netherlands) to 33% (United Kingdom). In America, this infection percentage varies from 1-16%. Japan has a very high prevalence of FIV (44%). An explanation for the differences in infection rates may be the different health status of the cats. Epidemiological investigations show that FIV transmission is influenced by cat behavior. The goal of this work was to evaluate FIV occurrence in naturally infected-domestic cats.
489 blood samples were collected from domestic cats in several cities of São Paulo State, Brazil, in a radius approximately of 200 Km, since October 2000 till December 2001. DNA was extracted using "GFX genomic Blood DNA purification kit" (APBiotech, Inc), as recommended by manufacturer. After extraction, 329-base pair were amplified by nested PCR, according to Hohdatsu et al.(1998). PCR products were submitted to electrophoresis in 2% agarose gel, stained with ethidium bromide and visualized by UV transillumination at 312 nm.
Among 489 samples, 14,5% (71/489) were positive, being 74,6% males and 25,3% females. Only 30,9% of the positive cases showed immunosuppression symptoms.
These results confirm FIV occurrence in domestic cats in São Paulo State, Brazil. The rate of 14,5% FIV infection is quite near from that found in USA. The remarkable difference found in the proportion between males and females infected by FIV in our work and also in those reported by other researchers could be explained by the virus transmission mechanism (bite and infective saliva) and by male cat's behavior, constantly fighting with others males for defense of their territory.