Virology: SARS virus infection of cats and ferrets

Nature. 2003 Oct 30;425(6961):915. doi: 10.1038/425915a.


The reservoir of the coronavirus isolated from patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), is still unknown, but is suspected to have been a wild animal species. Here we show that ferrets (Mustela furo) and domestic cats (Felis domesticus) are susceptible to infection by SARS coronavirus (SCV) and that they can efficiently transmit the virus to previously uninfected animals that are housed with them. The observation that these two distantly related carnivores can so easily be infected with the virus indicates that the reservoir for this pathogen may involve a range of animal species.

Supplementary information: The online version of this article (doi:10.1038/425915a) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild / virology
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Autopsy
  • Cats / immunology
  • Cats / virology*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Digestive System / virology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary
  • Ferrets / virology*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • SARS Virus / genetics
  • SARS Virus / immunology
  • SARS Virus / isolation & purification
  • SARS Virus / physiology*
  • Serial Passage
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / pathology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / veterinary*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology*
  • Trachea / virology
  • Urinary Tract / virology
  • Vero Cells


  • Antibodies, Viral