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Astrovirus Outbreak in an Animal Shelter Associated With Feline Vomiting

By Yanpeng Li, Emilia Gordon, Amanda Idle, Alvin Hui, Roxanne Chan, M. Alexis Seguin, Eric Delwart

Category Journal Articles

An outbreak of cat vomiting was observed in an animal shelter. Testing for known enteric
feline pathogens did not identify a causative agent. Viral metagenomics on four mini
pools of feces from cases and controls housed in the same area revealed the presence of
feline astrovirus in all pools. Also found with fewer reads in one pool each were rotavirus I,
carnivore bocaparvovirus 3, norovirus (NoV) GVI, and a novel dependovirus. The genome
of the highly prevalent astrovirus was sequenced and classified into mamastrovirus
species two, also known as feline astrovirus. Real-time RT-PCR on longitudinally acquired
fecal samples from 11 sick cases showed 10 (91%) to be shedding astrovirus for as
long as 19 days. Affected cats were sick for an average of 9.8 days, with a median
of 2.5 days (range = 1–31 days). Unaffected control cats housed in the same areas
during the outbreak showed five out of nine (56%) to also be shedding astrovirus. Feline
fecal samples collected from the same animal shelter ∼1 year before (n = 8) and after
(n = 10) showed none to be shedding astrovirus, indicating that this virus was temporarily
associated with the vomiting outbreak and is not part of the commensal virome for cats in
this shelter. Together with the absence of highly prevalent known pathogens, our results
support a role for feline astrovirus infection, as well as significant asymptomatic shedding,
in an outbreak of contagious feline vomiting.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2021
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 8
Pages 9
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2021.628082
URL https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2021.628082/full
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal shelters
  3. Cats
  4. Mammals
  5. open access
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Virus diseases
  8. vomiting
  1. open access