Tiana, J, Liu D, et al. Molecular characterization of a feline calicivirus isolated from tiger and its pathogenesis in cats. Vet Microbiol. 2016 Aug 30;192:110-7.
Feline calicivirus causes respiratory disease in cats and is one of the most common pathogens affecting cats.
Recently, a strain of calicivirus was isolated from the feces of a healthy Siberian Tiger housed in a zoo in China. Genetic analysis revealed that this virus is distinct from other Chinese isolates, and similar to one from the USA. The Chinese isolate also grew faster in the laboratory than other strains. When given to domestic cats, it was of a virulent phenotype, proving to be highly contagious and lethal. The investigators found that this tiger isolate caused severe lung damage, and also led to intestinal damage.
This is the first report of molecular characterization of a feline calicivirus from tigers. It is not clear if this virus is capable of causing disease in tigers, but in domestic cats it is highly lethal. This may be an example of host adaptation to a virus strain and vice versa, where in the natural host, little disease is seen. (MK)
Rong S, Lowery D, et al. Characterization of an avirulent FCV strain with a broad serum cross-neutralization profile and protection against challenge of a highly virulent vs feline calicivirus. Virus Res.2014 Aug 8;188:60-7.