An antigen is any substance that causes your body to produce antibodies.  
Foreign substances such as chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and pollen are 
antigens.

So since a virus is an antigen it kind of sounds stupid to say the ELISA test 
for the FeLV virus antigen.  It sounds like it's saying the same thing twice - 
it's testing for the virus virus.  I guess it just sounds more medical to say 
virus antigen instead of just virus.

Anyway, logically if the ELISA detects the virus in the saliva, blood, etc. it 
seems like it would be contagious at that point.  But if the experts are saying 
that isn't so then I can't argue.  Maybe it does have something to do with the 
virus getting into the white blood cells and bone marrow before it can be 
spread, like you were saying.  Haven't read that but it is kind of curious.  
This disease never makes sense and for every rule there's an exception.

Oh, one thing in my book said that one reason not all cats exposed to it don't 
get it is because they are not exposed to it often enough.  Like eating after 
another cat one time is not enough for the virus to spread.  It takes a long 
time, usually a couple months or so at least, with continuous exposure for a 
cat to pick up the virus from another cat.  The book said about 30 % of cats 
exposed to the virus don't get it because either they're resistant or don't 
have enough exposure to it.  Another 30 % get it but are able to extinguish it 
before it gets into their white blood cells or bone marrow.  5 - 10 % put the 
disease into latentcy and then the remaining 30% are the ones that get the 
virus and are not able to fight it off and will test positive on the IFA and 
usually die from the disease.

Still don't know the answer to the question of whether the virus can be shed at 
the stage where the ELISA is positive but the IFA is negative.  If anyone finds 
out let us know.


“I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are 
profitable to the human race or doesn’t….the pain which it inflicts upon 
unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me 
sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.” – Mark Twain

> Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2011 19:30:04 -0500
> From: longhornf...@verizon.net
> To: felvtalk@felineleukemia.org
> Subject: Re: [Felvtalk] doubts on two FeLV positive kitties
> 
> Great observations and lots of mystery with this horrible disease. It would 
> be great if you can find out from that book about what an antigen is and how 
> it works with the virus.
> 
> I'm no expert but have researched so much. It would be such a relief to all 
> of us if we knew if  the virus could be shed if the ELISA test is a true 
> positive (meaning it is in their saliva, blood, etc) or does it have to 
> reach the bone marrow first? Maybe that could also explain why some contract 
> it and others don't. Am I making sense?  It is confusing because it's not 
> B&W. There are too many exceptions with the FeLV.  If you find out anymore, 
> please share :)
> 
> Thanks for your input/research!
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Maureen Olvey" <molvey...@hotmail.com>
> To: <felvtalk@felineleukemia.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 6:23 PM
> Subject: Re: [Felvtalk] doubts on two FeLV positive kitties
> 
> 
> 
> I always thought they could spread it if positive on ELISA but the book
> didn't say that so I wonder.  The book made it sound like they would
> only be shedding the virus and contagious if the IFA was positive.  It
> said that the ELISA test for the virus antigen that's in the
> blood, serum, saliva and tears.  I looked up antigen before to see
> exactly what that was,  you know like whether it was the virus itself or
>  like an antibody, but I don't remember what it said.  I know it's not
> like an antibody.  I'm not in the medical field so I have to look up a
> lot of stuff.  So is the virus antigen the same as the virus itself?  I
> need to go look that up again to try to understand again exactly what an
>  antigen is.  If the virus antigen is in the blood and saliva and the
> antigen is the same as the virus then why couldn't they spread the virus
>  if the ELISA test is positive but the IFA test negative.  I've just
> confused myself all over again  ;-)
> 
> Interesting enough, somewhere
>  else it did say that if there was a latent infection, meaning the virus
>  is only in the bone marrow and T-cell lymphocytes (whatever that is), a
>  mama cat could infect her kitten in utero or while nursing.  I'm not
> sure if that means that the virus reactivates during pregnancy or if the
>  kittens can get a dormant virus.  It's all so confusing.
> 
> But, I
> would like to know if the virus can be shed when the ELISA is positive
> but the IFA is negative so if anybody has any thoughts let me know.
> 
> 
> “I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are 
> profitable to the human race or doesn’t….the pain which it inflicts upon 
> unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me 
> sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.” – Mark 
> Twain
> 

                                          
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