In 2014, the first GHVs native to feline species (domestic cats, bobcats and pumas) were discovered in the USA.
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%), the USA and Asia-Pacific regions (10% in Australia and 9% in Singapore) and its presence is usually associated with malaise.
FGHV-1 positive cats are roughly three times more likely to be sick than healthy, with risk factors including being older male cats, and coinfection with hemoplasma, 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.
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.
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