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Detection of feline coronavirus RNA in feces, tissues, and body fluids of naturally infected cats by reverse transcriptase PCR



Detection of feline coronavirus RNA in feces, tissues, and body fluids of naturally infected cats by reverse transcriptase PCR



Journal of Clinical Microbiology 33(3): 684-689



A nested reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-nPCR) was developed for the detection of feline coronavirus (FCoV) RNA in the feces, tissues, and body fluids of infected cats. The RT-nPCR was targeted to the highly conserved 3'-untranslated region of the viral genome and will detect most, if not all, feline coronaviruses in the field. With the RT-nPCR, FCoV RNA was detected in plasma samples from experimentally infected cats as early as 2 days postinoculation. FCoV RNA was also detected in serum, plasma, or ascitic fluid samples from 14 of 18 cats (78%) with naturally occurring feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). The use of RT-PCR for FIP diagnosis is limited because of the occurrence of apparently healthy FCoV carriers. These asymptomatic cats shed the virus in the feces and, in a number of cases, also had detectable virus in the plasma. Because of the nature of FCoV infections, our RT-PCR assay with plasma or serum cannot be used to establish a definite diagnosis of FIP. However, this assay does provide a new means to identify asymptomatic FCoV carriers. As such, RT-nPCR will be of use to screen cats before their introduction into FCoV-free catteries. Moreover, this assay provides an important tool to study the epidemiology of FCoV.

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Accession: 002796978

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PMID: 7751377


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