Excretion of feline leukaemia virus by naturally infected pet cats


THE transmission of feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) horizontally among cats has been well established1–3 but the source of infectious virus responsible for this transmission has not been determined, C-type particles resembling FeLV have been seen by electron microscopy in many tissues and body fluids from cats having leukaemia and lymphoma4–7. In reference to potential environmental excretion, particles have been seen in the upper and lower respiratory tract, saliva, urine, gut wall, and peripheral blood. These studies, however, have been limited to electron microscopic visualisation and have not studied levels of infectious FeLV in tissues or fluids which could release virus into the environment. Speculation about the source of infectious virus has included urine saliva, fleas, and blood (from either scratches, bites, or blood sucking arthropods)1,8.

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FRANCIS, D., Essex, M. & HARDY, W. Excretion of feline leukaemia virus by naturally infected pet cats. Nature 269, 252–254 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1038/269252a0

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