Feline rotavirus was detected by electron microscopy in the faecal samples of a cat, and was propagated in an established cell line of foetal rhesus monkey kidney, MA104, cell cultures. Morphologically, feline rotavirus was indistinguishable from known rotaviruses. Complete particles showed a characteristic ‘spoke-like’ arrangement of inner capsomeres surrounded by an outer layer. Intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies in different sizes and shapes were produced in infected MA104 cells. Reproducible clear-cut plaques were produced by feline rotavirus in MA104 cells under the overlay of carboxymethylcellulose in the presence of trypsin. Feline rotavirus was distinct from human, canine, bovine, porcine and simian rotaviruses by the plaque reduction neutralization test. Feline rotavirus, like canine and simian rotaviruses, was found to be less dependent upon trypsin than human, bovine, porcine, chicken and turkey rotaviruses. A seroepidemiological survey (September 1979 to August 1980) showed that 20 out of 61 (32.8%) randomly sampled hospitalized cats at the Cornell Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Ithaca, New York had antibody titres against feline rotavirus. Oral inoculation of cats with feline rotavirus did not produce any clinical disease, but most cats did mount an immune response to the virus following inoculation.


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