Detection of feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus 1 and Chlamydia psittaci mucosal swabs by multiplex RT-PCR/PCR

Jane E Sykes, Joanne L. Allen, Virginia P. Studdert, Glenn F. Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


A single tube, multiplex reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/PCR assay was developed for detection of feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1), Chlamydia psittaci and feline calicivirus (FCV) in cats with upper respiratory tract disease (URTD), incorporating a simple, rapid extraction procedure capable of extracting both DNA and RNA. The assay was found to be as sensitive in vitro as simplex assays that have previously been shown to be as sensitive as, or more sensitive than, culture for each pathogen in experimentally infected cats. Conjunctival alone or both conjunctival and oropharyngeal swabs were collected from cats in 104 households with URTD. FHV1 was detected in 18 (17.3%) and C. psittaci was detected in 12 (11.5%) households. The prevalence of C. psittaci was not significantly different to that determined using a duplex PCR assay for C. psittaci and FHV1. The prevalence of FCV was affected by sample storage temperature. Of samples stored at -70°C, 0/31 were positive for FCV but FCV was detected in 10/73 (13.7%) samples stored at 4°C (P=0.006). Of the samples stored at 4°C, 3/19 (15.8%) conjunctival swabs were positive for FCV and 6/32 (18.8%) oropharyngeal/conjunctival swabs were positive for FCV (P=0.79). The potential utility of restriction endonuclease analysis of RT-PCR products resulting from amplification of the hypervariable region of the capsid protein gene of FCV in field samples, without prior cultivation, was also examined. The assay may have considerable importance for diagnosis and epidemiological surveys of feline upper respiratory tract pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 26 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlamydia psittaci
  • Diagnosis
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus
  • Prevalence
  • Strain differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)


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