Research Article

Feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus: frequency and associated factors in cats in northeastern Brazil.

Published: May 10, 2017
Genet. Mol. Res. 16(2): gmr16029633 DOI: 10.4238/gmr16029633


Our aims were to determine the frequencies of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) in owned and stray cats in the northeastern region of Brazil, ascertain the status of FeLV infection, and investigate potential associated factors among the owned cats. Blood samples from 200 asymptomatic owned cats and 30 stray cats were processed using nested PCR and commercial immunochromatographic tests to diagnose infections. To evaluate the factors associated with FIV and/or FeLV in owned cats, a semi-structured interview was conducted with each owner about the animal's environment, and these data were subjected to unconditional logistic regression. The frequencies for owned cats were 6% (12/200) and 3% (6/200) for FIV and FeLV, respectively. No owned cat was positive for both viruses. Stray cats showed frequencies of 6.66% (2/30) and 0% (0/30) for FIV and FeLV, respectively. Contact with other cats and living in peri-urban areas were considered to be risk factors (P < 0.05) for FIV. We did not identify any factors associated with infections with FeLV. Our results confirm the presence of these two retroviruses in the region under study. Our use of different diagnostic techniques allowed us to determine the frequency of retroviruses in the feline population more accurately, particularly with regard to infections by FeLV, which have complex pathogenesis.