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Klein-Richers, Ute; Hartmann, Katrin; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina; Unterer, Stefan; Bergmann, Michele; Rieger, Anna; Leutenegger, Christian; Pantchev, Nikola; Balzer, Jörg and Felten, Sandra (2020): Prevalence of Feline Coronavirus Shedding in German Catteries and Associated Risk Factors. In: Viruses-Basel, Vol. 12, No. 9, 1000

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The aim of this prospective study was to determine prevalence and potential risk factors of feline coronavirus (FCoV) shedding. Four consecutive fecal samples of 179 cats from 37 German breeding catteries were analyzed for FCoV ribonucleic acid (RNA) by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Prevalence of shedding was calculated using different numbers of fecal samples per cat (1-4) and different sampling intervals (5-28 days). Information on potential risk factors for FCoV shedding was obtained by a questionnaire. Risk factor analysis was performed using a generalized linear mixed model (GLMM). Most cats (137/179, 76.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 69.8-82.2) shed FCoV at least at once. None of the tested 37 catteries was free of FCoV. Prevalence calculated including all four (76.5%, 95% CI 69.8-82.2) or the last three (73.7%, 95% CI 66.8-79.7) samples per cat was significantly higher than the prevalence calculated with only the last sample (61.5%, 95% CI 54.2-68.3;p= 0.0029 and 0.0175, respectively). Young age was significantly associated with FCoV shedding while the other factors were not. For identification of FCoV shedders in multi-cat households, at least three fecal samples per cat should be analyzed. Young age is the most important risk factor for FCoV shedding.

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