Noroviruses affect many animal species including people. It generally causes a self-limiting gastroenteritis with diarrhea and vomiting. The more familiar name of human noroviruses is the “cruise ship virus”. Feline norovirus was first detected in 2012. It is usually associated with diarrhea, especially in kittens in shelter settings.
These investigators isolated and characterized a new strain of this virus from cats. Interestingly, this virus was found to be related to two distinct noroviruses, one from a lion and one from dogs. They postulate that this virus arose from a recombination of the two distinct viruses to give rise to this novel strain. When this virus was administered to healthy adult cats, they developed diarrhea symptoms. In addition, virus was isolated from their feces and blood indicating an active infection. Noroviruses may be a concern among cats and kittens in high density settings such as shelters, much like human noroviruses affect people in close contact with one another. (MK)