A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was developed and used to detect feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) in conjunctival and oropharyngeal swabs, and in latently infected tissues (trigeminal ganglia, optic nerves, optic chiasma, olfactory bulbs and corneas) collected from 10 experimentally infected cats. There was good agreement between parallel tests of the swab specimens by PCR and virus isolation assay during the phase of acute, latent and recurrent disease episodes (kappa=0.63, P<0.001). The PCR reliably detected ≤240 copies of FHV-1 template DNA, significantly improving upon previously published PCR assays for the agent.
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