BACKGROUND: Feline infectious agent studies are lacking in Cyprus. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence and risk factors for various feline infectious agents, including feline vector-borne pathogens (FVBP), in cats from Cyprus.
METHODS: A cross-sectional, descriptive, multicentre study was performed on 174 feline samples [138 owned and 36 shelter-feral, including both healthy (43) and non-healthy (131), cats] from private veterinary clinics from all six districts of Cyprus. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays were used to detect Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), "Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum" (CMhm) and "Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis" (CMt). The population was tested for four FVBP including Bartonella henselae and Leishmania spp. using qPCR, while conventional PCR assays were used to detect Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. and Hepatozoon spp. Serological assays were performed to detect Leishmania infantum antibodies, feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) antigen and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) antibodies. Statistical analysis was performed to test associations and possible risk factors between variables and infectious agents.
RESULTS: Ninety-six (55.2%) of the 174 cats were PCR-positive for at least one infectious agent. Forty-six cats (26.4%) were haemoplasma positive, including 13 (7.5%) for Mhf, 36 (20.7%) for CMhm and 12 (6.9%) for CMt. Sixty-six cats (37.9%) were positive for Hepatozoon spp., while 19 (10.9%) were positive for B. henselae, four (2.3%) for Leishmania spp. and one (0.6%) for Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. Sequencing revealed the presence of Hepatozoon felis, L. infantum and Anaplasma platys. Of the 164 cats that underwent retroviral serology, 10 (6.1%) were FeLV-positive and 31 (18.9%) were FIV-positive, while L. infantum serology was positive in 7 (4.4%) of the 160 cats tested. Multivariable logistic regression revealed significant associations for various infectious agents including L. infantum with each of Hepatozoon spp. and CMt infection.
CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence of infectious agents was found in cats from Cyprus with Mhf, CMhm, CMt, L. infantum, B. henselae, H. felis, A. platys, FeLV and FIV infections reported for the first time. The significant associations between different pathogens provide a better understanding of similarities in the epidemiology of these pathogens and interactions between them.
- Feline vector-borne pathogens
- Leishmania infantum
- Bartonella henselae
- Anaplasma platys
- Hepatozoon felis