Duarte, A., Marques, V., Correia, J.H.D., Neto, I., São Bráz, B., Rodrigues, C., Martins, T., Rosado, R., Ferreira, J.P., Santos-Reis, M. & Tavares, L. (2015) Molecular detection of haemotropic mycoplasma species in urban and rural cats from Portugal.Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 17(6), 516-522. DOI:10.1177/1098612X14550172 (IF2015 1,211; Q2 Veterinary Sciences)
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of haemoplasma infection in cats in Portugal and to assess risk factors for infection.
Methods: Real-time polymerase chain reaction techniques were used to assess 236 urban and rural cats from central and southern Portugal.
Results: The overall prevalence of haemoplasma in the target population was 27.1% (64/236), with individual species’ prevalences as follows: 17.8% (42/236) ‘CandidatusMycoplasma haemominutum’ (CMhm), 14.4% (34/236) Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf) and only 5.9% (14/236) ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis’ (CMt). Multiple infections were detected in 8.1% (19/236) of the samples, with triple and double infections with Mhf and CMhm being most commonly detected (5.9% [14/236] of cats). Haemoplasma infection was significantly higher in shelter cats (P = 0.015) than in cats with other lifestyles (eg, free-roaming/house pet/blood donors). Haemoplasma prevalence was also higher in cats with feline immunodeficiency virus infection (FIV; P = 0.011). Although sex was not significantly associated with haemoplasma infection (P = 0.050), CMt was predominantly found in males (P = 0.032). Also, the presence of haemoplasma multiple infections was statistically associated with being in a shelter (P= 0.021), male (P = 0.057) and with FIV co-infection (P = 0.004). No evidence of an association between haemoplasma infection and geographical location, age or feline leukaemia virus co-infection was found.
Conclusions and relevance: The results obtained in our study are consistent with the documented worldwide prevalence of feline haemoplasma infections, suggesting that the three main feline haemoplasma species are common in Portugal.