Feline panleukopaenia virus in captive non-domestic felids in South Africa

Emily P. Lane, Helene Brettschneider, Peter Caldwell, Almero Oosthuizen, Desire Lee Dalton, Liza du Plessis, Johan Steyl, National gardens

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An outbreak of feline panleukopaenia virus (FPLV) infection was diagnosed by pathology,
electron microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in vaccinated captive-bred subadult
cheetahs in South Africa. Subsequent to this disease outbreak, 12 cases of FPLV diagnosed on
histology were confirmed by PCR in captive African black-footed cat, caracal, cheetah, lion,
ocelot and serval. Phylogenetic analyses of the viral capsid protein gene on PCR-positive
samples, vaccine and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reference strains
identified a previously unknown strain of FPLV, present since at least 2006, that differs from
both the inactivated and the modified live vaccine strains. A previously described South
African strain from domestic cats and cheetahs was identified in a serval. Surveys of FPLV
strains in South African felids are needed to determine the geographical and host species
distribution of this virus. Since non-domestic species may be reservoirs of parvoviruses, and
since these viruses readily change host specificity, the risks of FPLV transmission between
captive-bred and free-ranging carnivores and domestic cats and dogs warrant further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalOnderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2016


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