SARS-CoV-2 in domestic UK cats from Alpha to Omicron: Swab surveillance and case reports

Jones, S. et al. (2023) SARS-CoV-2 in domestic UK cats from Alpha to Omicron: Swab surveillance and case reports. Viruses, 15(8), 1769. (doi: 10.3390/v15081769) (PMID:37632111) (PMCID:PMC10459977)

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Although domestic cats are susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2, the role of the virus in causing feline disease is less well defined. We conducted a large-scale study to identify SARS-CoV-2 infections in UK pet cats, using active and passive surveillance. Remnant feline respiratory swab samples, submitted for other pathogen testing between May 2021 and February 2023, were screened using RT-qPCR. In addition, we appealed to veterinarians for swab samples from cats suspected of having clinical SARS-CoV-2 infections. Bespoke testing for SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies was also performed, on request, in suspected cases. One RT-qPCR-positive cat was identified by active surveillance (1/549, 0.18%), during the Delta wave (1/175, 0.57%). Passive surveillance detected one cat infected with the Alpha variant, and two of ten cats tested RT-qPCR-positive during the Delta wave. No cats tested RT-qPCR-positive after the emergence of Omicron BA.1 and its descendants although 374 were tested by active and eleven by passive surveillance. We describe four cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pet cats, identified by RT-qPCR and/or serology, that presented with a range of clinical signs, as well as their SARS-CoV-2 genom

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This research was funded by UKRI-BBSRC, Award BB/V019929/1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jones, Dr Sarah and Hosie, Professor Margaret and Suarez, Dr Nicolas and Da Silva Filipe, Dr Ana and Logan, Miss Nicola and Weir, Professor Willie and Kwok, Ms Kirsty and Smollett, Dr Katherine and Bowie, Mrs Andrea and Tyson, Grace
Authors: Jones, S., Tyson, G. B., Orton, R. J., Smollett, K., Manna, F., Kwok, K., Suarez, N. M., Logan, N., McDonald, M., Bowie, A., Da Silva Filipe, A., Willett, B. J., Weir, W., and Hosie, M. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity > Centre for Virus Research
Journal Name:Viruses
Published Online:19 August 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 by the authors
First Published:First published in Viruses 15(8):1769
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
312832SARS-CoV-2 infections in cats: assessing their zoonotic potential and role in sustaining the pandemicMargaret HosieBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/V019929/1SBOHVM - Veterinary Pathology Public Health & Disease Investigation