In June 1993, two of five pet cats kept in Yokohama city in Japan suddenly became agitated and died. Feline calicivirus (FCV) was isolated from them. One strain (FCV-S) was isolated from the spinal cord, lung and tonsil of cat 1, another (FCV-B) from the ileum, medulla oblongata and cervical spinal cord of cat 2, and a third (FCVSAKURA) from the oral cavity of one of the three surviving cats which showed no clinical signs. These three strains were equally resistant to pH 3˙0 and serologically similar to each other, but distinct from strain F9. A genetic analysis, using a 208 base pair fragment from region E of the capsid, showed that FCV-Ari had a 70˙4 per cent nucleotide and 77˙3 per cent amino acid homology and FCV-F9 had a 68˙6 per cent nucleotide and 73˙9 per cent amino acid homology with the three strains, indicating that these two strains were genetically distinct from the three new isolates. Unvaccinated cats and cats which had been vaccinated against FCV-F9 developed watery diarrhoea but did not become agitated after the administration of FCV-S. The FCV-S strain did not induce signs of excitability after it was administered orally to specific pathogen-free cats.
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