Prevalence study

Prevalence study of feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leucosis virus in stray cats in Ghent

  • R. van Vugt
  • H. Nauwynck
  • I. Polis
  • H. de Rooster


Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leucosis virus (FeLV) are two pathogens in cats that may have severe consequences on the general health of the infected animal, especially in the long term. The stray cat population is a reservoir for maintaining the infection in this group but is also responsible for spreading the infection to housecats. For many years, the City of Ghent has been pursuing a stray cat control policy according to the trap-neuter-return principle that entails euthanasia of stray cats affected by FIV or FeLV. To study the influence of the eradication plan on the prevalence of FIV and FeLV in the stray cat population, data obtained in 2009 were compared to data of 2017. A significant drop in the infection rate was observed for FeLV (from 9.9% to 0.7%). For FIV, the prevalence remained similar (from 9.1% to 10.3%). A shift in the number of stray cats caught as well as in the percentage of positive cases was observed from downtown to the boundaries of the Ghent area. Various factors may have influenced these preliminary findings. Further research should elucidate factors responsible for the evolution of the FIV and FeLV prevalence in stray cats in the Ghent area.

How to Cite:

van Vugt, R. & Nauwynck, H. & Polis, I. & de Rooster, H., (2019) “Prevalence study of feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leucosis virus in stray cats in Ghent”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 88(3), 131-136. doi:

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Published on
27 Jun 2019
Peer Reviewed