First report and genetic characterization of feline kobuvirus in diarrhoeic cats in China.
Feline kobuvirus (FeKoV) is a newly discovered organism, classified under the species Aichivirus A of the genus Kobuvirus. Since it was first reported in 2013, molecular evidence for FeKoV in the feline population has been restricted to two countries: Korea and Italy. In this study, we collected faecal samples from cats in southern China and detected the FeKoV RNA in these samples. A prevalence rate of 9.9% (8/81) was identified by RT-PCR, and all positive samples were obtained from diarrhoeic animals. In addition, FeKoV was shown positive associated with diarrhoea in cats, with a correlation coefficient of 0.25. Next, we designed three primer pairs with degenerate bases, which targeted the conservative overlapping region of the entire published FeKoV genome, and sequenced the near-complete genome of the first Chinese field FeKoV strain, WHJ-1, using long-fragment PCR. Finally, we analysed WHJ-1's homology and phylogeny using the polyprotein gene. The results indicated that FeKoV has rapidly mutated since it was first discovered. This study will help to better understand FeKoV's epidemiology, evolutionary pattern and genetic diversity.