[Feline leukemia virus infection: importance and current situation in Switzerland].

Hofmann-Lehmann, R; Gönczi, E; Riond, B; Meli, M; Willi, B; Howard, Judith; Schaarschmidt-Kiener, D; Regli, W; Gilli, U; Boretti, F (2018). [Feline leukemia virus infection: importance and current situation in Switzerland]. Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde, 160(2), pp. 95-105. Gesellschaft Schweizer Tierärztinnen und Tierärzte 10.17236/sat00146

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Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) leads to fatal disease in cats with progressive infection. The aim of this study was to determine the importance of FeLV infection in Switzerland and make a comparison with previous studies. Of 881 blood samples taken from cats living in Switzerland (minimum of 20 samples per Canton), 47 samples were provirus-positive (5.3%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.9-7.0%) and 18 samples were antigen-positive (2%; 95% CI 1.2-3.2%). Together with data previously collected in similar studies, these findings demonstrated a decrease in prevalence between 1997 and 2003 followed by a relative constant low prevalence thereafter. Young cats (=2 years) were more frequently infected than older cats, but FeLV-positive cats were up to 15 (antigen-positive) and 19 (provirus-positive) years old. Sexually intact cats were more frequently viremic than neutered cats; purebred cats were somewhat less frequently FeLV-positive than non-purebred cats. In a second study, in which 300 saliva samples were analyzed, samples from 5 cats were FeLV-RNA positive (1.7%; 95% CI, 0.5-3.8%), although one young feral cat had been falsely assumed to be FeLV-negative based on a point-of-care test. Of the 300 cats, only 50% were FeLV tested or vaccinated, although 90% of the cats were at risk of exposure to FeLV. Testing and vaccination of all cats with exposure risk may help further decrease the prevalence of FeLV infection. Moreover, characteristics of FeLV tests should be considered, such as the risk of false negative results in the early phase of infection when performing antigen testing.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > DKV - Central Clinical Laboratory

UniBE Contributor:

Howard, Judith


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




Gesellschaft Schweizer Tierärztinnen und Tierärzte




Judith Howard

Date Deposited:

10 May 2019 14:46

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:26

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