Feline morbillivirus (FeMV) was, I’m told, first reported in Hong Kong and mainland China in 2012. It has been associated with kidney inflammation (nephritis). It can infect domestic and wild cats. A study in 2016 published on the National Library of Medicine in the USA, concluded that the association between morbillivirus and chronic kidney disease had not been proven at that time.
They say that morbilliviruses cause acute infections and typically the infections affect the central nervous system not the urinary system. They recommended additional research.
Moving forward, a study from the University of Pittsburgh and published on 19 October 2022 on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website and reported on the UPMC website state that they have linked this “elusive virus” to chronic kidney disease in cats.
They have worked out how the infection takes place and say that it has the potential to infect people.
They state that FeMV “appears to spread from host to host through urine”. They also say that their study provides an insight into how it might potentially jump from animals to humans.
They now have a better understanding of the genetics of the virus which helps them to understand its connection to chronic kidney disease. They are also better able to understand how to stop the transmission of the disease from animals to people. This implies that the virus is zoonotic.
A species of the morbillivirus causes measles in humans.
FeMV is found in domestic cats across Europe and Asia. It was identified and fully sequenced in the US.
They state that earlier studies linked virus to chronic kidney disease in cats, but the new study goes into detail as to how the virus gets to the kidneys.
Cat lovers know that chronic kidney disease is a major cause of death in cats. One statistic is that 30% of domestic cat die of chronic kidney disease. There seems to be an acceptance of this. Questions need to be asked.
The author of the study, Paul Duprex, Ph.D., director of the Center for Vaccine Research at Pitt’s School of Medicine, said that the virus enters the cells of a cat by “binding to a surface protein receptor called CD150”.
They found that its transmission can be “halted by inhibiting a class of protein-cleaving enzyme is called cathepsins”. These catalyse the hydrolysis of proteins to polypeptides, if that helps you!
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