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At-risk individuals in Feline Immunodeficiency Virus epidemiology: evidence from a multivariate approach in a natural population of domestic cats (Felis catus)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 1998

F. COURCHAMP
Affiliation:
U.M.R. C.N.R.S. 5558 ‘Biométrie, Génétique et Biologie des Populations’ Université Claude Bernard Lyon I. 43, Bd du 11 Novembre 1918 F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France Present address: Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.
N. G. YOCCOZ
Affiliation:
U.M.R. C.N.R.S. 5558 ‘Biométrie, Génétique et Biologie des Populations’ Université Claude Bernard Lyon I. 43, Bd du 11 Novembre 1918 F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France Present address: Department of Arctic Ecology, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Storgt. 25, N-9005 Tromsø, Norway.
M. ARTOIS
Affiliation:
C.N.E.V.A. Nancy, Laboratoire d'Étude sur la Rage et la Pathologie des Animaux Sauvages, Domaine de Pixérécourt, BP9, F-54220 Malzéville, France
D. PONTIER
Affiliation:
U.M.R. C.N.R.S. 5558 ‘Biométrie, Génétique et Biologie des Populations’ Université Claude Bernard Lyon I. 43, Bd du 11 Novembre 1918 F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France
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Abstract

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Prevalence of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) infection was measured during 6 consecutive years in a natural rural population of domestic cats. Sex, age, weight, origin, group size and presence of antibodies to FIV were recorded for each sampled cat. Logistic regressions were used to estimate the influence of the recorded parameters on infection. FIV prevalence rates are as high as 19·6% in the total population, and do not statistically change between years, after controlling for changes in samples' age structure. FIV infection is characterized by risk factors linked to aggressive behaviour: old mature male adults having dispersed are more likely to be infected. A study of the cats group size and of the spatial distribution of infected individuals indicates the absence of infection clusters in males, and suggests the importance of roaming in the spreading of FIV. In conclusion, FIV infection spreads, with low contagiousness, mainly between particularly aggressive individuals, and the virus is endemic in this population.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1998 Cambridge University Press