Newly discovered virus linked to deadly kidney disease in cats
Fox News reported
A newly discovered virus may be one of the causes of a potentially fatal kidney disease in pet cats.
Tubulointerstitial nephritis is a disease that inflames the spaces between the kidney tubules, the tubes that carry fluid for filtration inside the organ. Many factors can cause tubulointerstitial nephritis in humans, from infections to autoimmune disorders to certain medications. But in cats, the cause is rarely known.
Now, researchers in Hong Kong believe they've found at least one culprit: a new virus related to measles and mumps dubbed feline morbillivirus. A dog version of this virus causes distemper, which manifests as vomiting, diarrhea, coughing and deadly neurological symptoms.
"All dogs are vaccinated against the canine distemper virus, because the dog morbillivirus can cause very severe disease in dogs with fever, pneumonia, brain infection, immunosuppression and rash," study researcher Kwok-Yung Yuen told LiveScience. "Despite the close relationship between dog, cat and human, no morbillivirus is found in cats yet. And one of top causes of death in cases due to nephritis leading to kidney failure is quite unknown." [10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species]
Yuen and his colleagues went looking for this elusive cat morbillivirus, figuring that if viruses in this family could infect dogs and humans, they'd likely show up in cats. They were right. Of 457 stray cats from Hong Kong and mainland China tested, 12.3 percent (56 individuals) carried the virus. A total of 27.8 percent had antibodies to the virus, meaning they had been infected at some point in their lives.