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Risk of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Infection in Pet Cats in Australia is Higher in Areas of Lower Socioeconomic Status

By Vivian Tran, Mark Kelman, Michael Ward, Mark Westman

Category Journal Articles

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline calicivirus (FCV), and feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) are common viral infections of domestic cats in Australia. A study was performed to investigate the possible effect of area-based socioeconomic factors on the occurrence of FIV, FCV, and FHV-1 infection in Australian client-owned cats. A total of 1044 cases, reported to a voluntary Australian online disease surveillance system between January 2010 and July 2017, were analysed with respect to their postcode-related socioeconomic factors using the Socio-Economic Indexes For Areas (SEIFA). SEIFA consists of four different indexes which describe different aspects of socioeconomic advantage and disadvantage. Signalment details including age, sex, neuter status, and breed were also considered. A significant correlation was observed between areas of lower socioeconomic status and a higher number of reported cases of FIV infection for all four SEIFA indexes (p ≤ 0.0002). Postcodes with SEIFA indexes below the Australian median (“disadvantaged” areas) were 1.6–2.3 times more likely to have reported cases of FIV infection than postcodes with SEIFA indexes above the median (“advantaged” areas). In contrast, no correlation was observed between the number of reported cases of FCV or FHV-1 infection and any of the four SEIFA indexes (p > 0.05). When signalment data were analysed for the three infections, FIV-infected cats were more likely to be older (p < 0.00001), male (p < 0.0001), neutered (p = 0.03), and non-pedigree (p < 0.0001) compared to FCV and FHV-1 infected cats. Results from this study suggest that area-based disease control strategies, particularly in areas of social disadvantage, might be effective in reducing the prevalence of FIV infection in pet cats in Australia.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Animals
Volume 9
Issue 9
Pages 12
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani9090592
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Australia
  3. Cats
  4. open access
  5. Pets and companion animals
  6. Veterinary sciences
  7. Virus diseases
  1. open access