Feline gammaherpesvirus

From Cat
Jump to: navigation, search

Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 (FGHV-1) is a percavirus in a subclass of herpesviridae to which feline herpes virus also belongs. It is considered endemic in cats worldwiode[1].

In 2014, the first GHVs native to feline species (domestic cats, bobcats and pumas) were discovered in the USA[2].

FGHV-1 has been shown to be present in a significant number of domestic cats in the UK (approximately 12% of domestic cats), Central Europe (16%)[3], the USA and Asia-Pacific regions (10% in Australia and 9% in Singapore) and its presence is usually associated with malaise[4].

FGHV-1 positive cats are roughly three times more likely to be sick than healthy, with risk factors including being older male cats[5], and coinfection with hemoplasma[6], FeLV or FIV. Furthermore, FGHV-1 viral loads are up to six times higher in FIV-infected cats compared to matched controls. The cause(s) of these pathogen-pathogen associations could be due to increased susceptibility of the cat to infection with another pathogen, such as via immunosuppression or antibody-dependent enhancement[7].

Infections in cats appears to affect many organ sites, with higher loads isolated from intestinal biopsies, mimicking increased Epstein–Barr virus loads in human immunodeficiency virus-infected humans.

Horizontal transmission of FGHV-1 is thought to occur between comorbid colonies or cats that living together, suggesting an oral route of infection such as grooming or biting.

Diagnosis requires isolation of FGHV-1 DNA in whole blood using quantitative PCR.

There is no known treatment or vaccine currently available against this virus.


  1. Hartmann K (2011) Clinical aspects of feline immunodeficiency and feline leukemia virus infection. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 143:190–201
  2. Troyer RM et al (2014) Novel gammaherpesviruses in North American domestic cats, bobcats, and pumas: Identification, prevalence, and risk factors. J Virol 88:3914–3924
  3. Ertl R et al (2015) Prevalence and risk factors of gammaherpesvirus infection in domestic cats in Central Europe. Virol J 12:146
  4. Beatty J (2014) Viral causes of feline lymphoma: retroviruses and beyond. Vet J 201(2):174-180
  5. Beatty JA et al (2014) Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1; a widely endemic potential pathogen of domestic cats. Virology 460–461:100–107
  6. McLuckie A et al (2016) High prevalence of Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 infection in haemoplasma-infected cats supports co-transmission. Vet J 214:117-121
  7. Telfer S et al (2010) Species interactions in a parasite community drive infection risk in a wildlife population. Science 330:243–246