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A virus attacks the kidneys of the cat and could be transmitted to humans

Researchers have analyzed a virus responsible for chronic kidney failure in cats. From the measles family, it could be transmitted to humans.

France has about 14 million cats, 8 million dogs and 32 million fish. If the French love their pets, they can also be vectors of certain diseases. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, virologists from the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh (United States) have analyzed a virus responsible for chronic kidney failure in cats.

In addition to describing its mechanism of action, they also highlighted its potential to infect humans. It is the feline morbillivirus, or FeMV, from the same family as the measles virus. “Unlike measles, FeMV appears to be spread from host to host through urine in much the same way as the zoonotic Nipah virus harbored in bats, which causes annual fatal outbreaks in humans throughout Asia. South East“, underline the researchers.

Avoid an epidemic

But that’s not all. This study provides the first clear insight into this virus and its potential trajectory from infecting animals to crossing into humans. “By understanding the genetics of a virus that struggled to grow in the lab, we are now able to shed light on its link to chronic kidney disease and better understand how we can stop transmission and the potential fallout on human populations“says lead author Paul Duprex, director of the Center for Vaccine Research at Pitt’s School of Medicine.

FeMV enters cells by binding to a surface protein receptor called CD150. Related viruses, including measles, use CD150 as the primary entry receptor, and people vaccinated against measles are protected against FeMV infection. The authors of this study state that “measles eradication could present an evolutionary opportunity for other morbilliviruses, such as FeMV, to seek out new hosts and jump on unvaccinated people“. For scientists, “it is important to shine a light on animal diseases proactively.” Preparedness is key to avoiding an outbreak.

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