FCoV-23 causing FIP in a cat imported to the UK from Cyprus

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Abstract / Description of output

WE would like to report a case of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) in a cat now in the UK having been imported from Cyprus at the end of August 2023. The imported cat is a nine-month-old female that developed clinical signs (fever and ascites) compatible with FIP a few weeks after being imported. The peritoneal fluid was a modified transudate with neutrophilic inflammation.

Subsequent viral sequencing of the peritoneal fluid revealed that the cat was infected with a feline coronavirus (FCoV) that we have recently identified to be the cause of a large FIP outbreak in Cyprus; provisionally, we have named this virus FCoV-23. Unlike cases of classical FIP, which are not transmissible from cat to cat, we have evidence suggesting that FCoV-23 is directly transmissible from infected cats to other cats they are in contact with.1

Sequence analysis of the viral spike gene of the FCoVs from the outbreak in Cyprus and the imported cat indicate they are closely related and a part of the same outbreak. Analysis of the viral genome sequence from cats in the Cyprus outbreak reveals that the virus circulating in Cyprus is a novel recombination between FCoV type I (FCoVI) and a highly pathogenic canine coronavirus (pCCoV), with the spike gene of pCCoV replacing the spike of FCoVI.

Following confirmation of FIP due to FCoV-23 infection, treatment of the imported cat has been initiated under the supervision of the feline medical team of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, in collaboration with the local veterinary team.

Importantly, the imported cat is being kept strictly indoors and the owner has been advised to implement advanced hygiene measures to avoid further spread of the virus. The cat is being treated with high doses of GS-441524, and faecal samples are being monitored for viral shedding.

We ask that all veterinary surgeons who see cats showing signs suggestive of FIP ask the owners about potential importation from Cyprus. If this is identified, we advise that the cat should be isolated from other pets until antiviral treatment is started.

Currently, it is unclear how long cats infected with FCoV-23 remain infectious. As with classical FIP cases, if no treatment is initiated then the infection will result in the cat's death; euthanasia should be considered on welfare grounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-415
Number of pages2
JournalThe Veterinary record
Issue number10
Early online date17 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2023


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