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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus Infections and Their Relationships to Lymphoid Malignancies in Cats: A Retrospective Study (1968–1988)

Shelton Grady H.; Grant, Chris K.; Cotter, Susan M.; Gardner, Murray B.; Hardy, William D. Jr.; DiGiacomo, Ronald F.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: June 1990
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Sera from 353 cats with naturally occurring feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection were collected in Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle between 1968 and 1988. These sera were retrospectively assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for antibodies to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Fifty-one (14.4%) of the FeLV-positive sera had antibodies to FIV, indicating dual oncovirus and lentivirus infections. FIV infections were confirmed by Western blot analysis, antibodies against the 15 and 27 kDa proteins being used as definitive markers. FIV infection was diagnosed in one cat sampled in 1968 and in eight other cats sampled before 1975 in New York City. Illnesses exhibited by coinfected cats were similar to those of cats infected with FeLV only. Two unrelated cats with multicentric fibrosarcomas were found to be simultaneously infected with FIV, FeLV, and feline sarcoma virus. FIV was less contagious than FeLV in 73 cats residing in an exposure household between 1977 and 1980 as determined by evaluation of sera collected sequentially. In this household, 15 resident cats became FeLV infected whereas no cats contracted FIV infection. Comparison of serologic results from 53 cats with leukemia/lymphoma and matched controls confirmed a strong correlation between FeLV viremia and leukemia/lymphoma. A significant correlation between FIV infection and lymphoproliferative malignancies was also found independent of FeLV infection.

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