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An unusual outbreak of FIP in shelter cats

Wang YT, Su BL, Hsieh LE, et al. An outbreak of feline infectious peritonitis in a Taiwanese shelter: epidemiologic and molecular evidence for horizontal transmission of a novel type II feline coronavirus. Vet Res 2013;44:57. [Free, full text]
This paper describes an outbreak of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) in a shelter in Taiwan. Two interesting things are described here. First, outbreaks of FIP are uncommon. Cases are generally sporadic, affecting only a small percentage of a population. Thirteen out of 46 cats succumbed to FIP at this shelter over a period of several months , including four kittens newly arrived to the shelter that appeared to be the first cases.

Also unusual was the finding that eight of the cats with FIP had the same virus as determined by genetic analysis, and this virus was a type II feline coronavirus. The majority of cases of FIP are caused by a type I feline coronavirus, with type II feline coronaviruses bearing some similarities to the canine coronavirus. This virus was identical among the eight FIP cases that were tested and it was not found in healthy cats in the shelter. The investigators concluded that this virulent virus was spread from cat to cat in this outbreak, probably in feces, an unusual scenario for FIP. [MK]

See also: Lin CN, Su BL, Wang CH, et al. Genetic diversity and correlation with feline infectious peritonitis of feline coronavirus type I and II: a 5-year study in Taiwan. Vet Microbiol 2009;136:233-239.

Benetka V, Kubber-Heiss A, Kolodziejek J, et al. Prevalence of feline coronavirus types I and II in cats with histopathologically verified feline infectious peritonitis. Vet Microbiol 2004;99:31-42.