A multi-national European cross-sectional study of feline calicivirus epidemiology, diversity and vaccine cross-reactivity

Afonso, Maria M., Pinchbeck, Gina L., Smith, Shirley L., Daly, Janet M., Gaskell, Rosalind M., Dawson, Susan and Radford, Alan D. (2017) A multi-national European cross-sectional study of feline calicivirus epidemiology, diversity and vaccine cross-reactivity. Vaccine, 35 (20). pp. 2753-2760. ISSN 0264-410X

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Feline calicivirus (FCV) is an important pathogen of cats for which vaccination is regularly practised. Long-term use of established vaccine antigens raises the theoretical possibility that field viruses could become resistant. This study aimed to assess the current ability of the FCV-F9 vaccine strain to neutralise a randomly collected contemporary panel of FCV field strains collected prospectively in six European countries.


Veterinary practices (64) were randomly selected from six countries (UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy). Oropharyngeal swabs were requested from 30 (UK) and 40 (other countries) cats attending each practice. Presence of FCV was determined by virus isolation, and risk factors for FCV shedding assessed by multivariable logistic regression. Phylogenetic analyses were used to describe the FCV population structure. In vitro virus neutralisation assays were performed to evaluate FCV-F9 cross-reactivity using plasma from four vaccinated cats.


The overall prevalence of FCV was 9.2%. Risk factors positively associated with FCV shedding included multi-cat households, chronic gingivostomatitis, younger age, not being neutered, as well as residing in certain countries. Phylogenetic analysis showed extensive variability and no countrywide clusters. Despite being first isolated in the 1950s, FCV-F9 clustered with contemporary field isolates. Plasma raised to FCV-F9 neutralized 97% of tested isolates (titres 1:4 to 1:5792), with 26.5%, 35.7% and 50% of isolates being neutralized by 5, 10 and 20 antibody units respectively.


This study represents the largest prospective analysis of FCV diversity and antigenic cross-reactivity at a European level. The scale and random nature of sampling used gives confidence that the FCV isolates used are broadly representative of FCVs that cats are exposed to in these countries. The in vitro neutralisation results suggest that antibodies raised to FCV-F9 remain broadly cross-reactive to contemporary FCV isolates across the European countries sampled.

Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/859986
Keywords: Feline calicivirus; Vaccine; Neutralisation; Phylogeny; Epidemiology
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.03.030
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2017 13:55
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:45
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/41834

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