Risk factors for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection in cats in São Paulo, Brazil

  • Juliana Junqueira Jorge Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Departamento de Clínica Médica, São Paulo, SP
  • Fernando Ferreira Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal, São Paulo, SP
  • Mitika Kuribayashi Hagiwara Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Departamento de Clínica Médica, São Paulo, SP
Keywords: Cats, Feline leukemia virus, Risk factors, Epidemiology, FeLV

Abstract

The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection in cats (n = 812) from the city of São Paulo. Information on age, gender, outdoor access, reproductive status, origin and number of potential contacts were obtained for each animal. Direct immunofluorescence test was used to identify the infected cats. Fifty cats (6.2 %) were positive for FeLV infection. The risk factors identified were "outdoor access" (OR = 47.2; p < 0.001), "having been rescued from the street" (OR = 3.221; p = 0.008) or being three to six year old (OR = 3.046; p = 0.009); the most important risk factor was free outdoor access. A predictive model for FeLV infection was built based on the results of the multivariate analysis. Cats with free outdoor access are more predisposed to infection, with 18% more chances of becoming infected. If the animal is one to three year old, the probability increases, reaching 34%. If the cat is exposed to these three risk factors, the probability of infection is even higher (63%). When analyzed together or as isolated risk factors, the age and being rescued from the street represent less impact on the spreading of the FeLV, as the probability of infection for cats exposed to each of these risk factors is 1 and 4%, respectively. Thus, free roaming and outdoor access are the most important risk factors associated to FeLV infection among cats in São Paulo city and must be taken in consideration in the prevention of this retrovirus infection.

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Published
2011-10-01
How to Cite
Jorge, J., Ferreira, F., & Hagiwara, M. (2011). Risk factors for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection in cats in São Paulo, Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research and Animal Science, 48(5), 392-398. https://doi.org/10.11606/S1413-95962011000500006
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