Impact of way of life and environment on the prevalence of Chlamydia felis in cats as potentional sources of infection for humans
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Faculty of Medicine, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia
University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Košice, Slovakia
Introduction and objectives:
Chlamydia (C.) felis can cause infection which may be associated with conjunctivitis and/or respiratory tract disease, particularly in kittens, but could also be the cause of the disease in adult cats. Infection is more common in multi-cat environments. The zoonotic potential of C. felis appears low, but exposure to this microorganism is possible by handling the affected cats, by contact with their aerosol, and also via fomites.

Material and methods:
In the study, 140 cats of various breeds from Košice region in Slovakia were studied. Conjunctival samples were obtained from 71 clinically healthy cats (50.7%) and 69 cats with clinical signs of conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract impairment (49.3%). Cats were divided into 4 groups according to breed and type of environment in which they lived. In the 1st group were cats kept inside only (n=33), in the 2nd group, free-roaming cats (n=50), the 3rd group comprised stray cats, taken from the streets (n=28), and the 4th group included cats kept in shelters or deposit devices (n=29). Molecular method PCR and DNA sequencing was used as the diagnostic method.

Overall positivity was 17.1%. Of the 24 positive cats, the highest positivity was detected in the population of stray cats (35.7%) and shelter cats (31%). In the group of free-roaming cats, 10% had positivity. No positive animals were detected in the group of cats kept inside only. It was also found that the risk of C. felis in cats with clinical signs of disease was more than 7-fold higher than in cats without clinical signs of conjunctivitis and respiratory tract.

The obtained results show that cats, especially stray and shelter cats, can be important sources of feline chlamydiosis, and due to their close contact with people they can present a risk for transmission.

Lenka Petrová   
Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Faculty of Medicine
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