wildlife and zoo assay data sheet
Ferret respiratory enteric coronavirus (FRECV)
- Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of ferret respiratory
enteric coronavirus by reverse transcription coupled real time PCR
are enveloped RNA viruses containing a positive-sense
single-stranded RNA genome. These viruses can cause acute and
chronic respiratory, enteric, and central nervous system disease
in a variety of animal species. Recently, a novel ferret enteric
coronavirus, FRECV, was identified in domesticated ferrets (Mustela
putorius). Ferret enteric coronavirus causes an enteric
disease called epizootic catarrhal enteritis (ECE). Infected
ferrets develop foul-smelling green diarrhea with high mucus
content, lethargy, anorexia, and vomiting.
More recently, a new
systemic coronavirus-associated disease closely resembling the
granulomatous or dry form of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
was reported in ferrets of the United States and Europe. This
disease is believed to be caused by ferret systemic coronavirus
based on predicted amino acid sequences showed that FRECV is
genetically most closely related to group 1 coronaviruses. Group
1 coronaviruses include some important causes of enteric disease
in domestic animals, including transmissible gastroenteritis
virus of swine, feline coronavirus (FCoV), and canine
coronavirus. Both the ferret enteric coronavirus (FRECV) and the
ferret systemic coronavirus (FRSCV) were recently identified as
group 1 coronaviruses.
ECE is a highly
contagious diarrheal disease, with outbreaks usually involving
100% of ferrets housed together in a household or breeding
facility. Even though the morbidity for ECE often reaches 100%,
generally the mortality rate is low (<5%). Young ferrets
infected with FRECV usually develop mild symptoms or no symptoms
at all, but older ferrets are more severely affected and have
higher mortality rates (Murray et al., 2010).
Other methods of
detecting FRECV are less specific than PCR due to
cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses, so diagnosis of FRECV
and ECE is usually done by PCR.
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Identify carriers of this virus
Screen research materials for the presence of this virus
Help ensure that ferret facilities are free of this virus
Early prevention of spread of the virus among animals
Minimize human exposure to the virus
Safety monitoring of biological products that derive from
Murray, J., Kiupel, M. and Maes,
R.K. (2010) Ferret coronavirus-associated diseases. Vet. Clin.
Exot. Anim. 13:543–560.
Fecal swab, or 0.2 ml feces, or respiratory swab, or
0.2 ml fresh or frozen tissue.
For specimen types other than those listed here, please call to
confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or
during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped
and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping
requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped
so as to remain frozen in transit. See
for more information.
Turnaround time: 2 business days
Methodology: Qualitative reverse
transcription coupled real time PCR
Normal range: Nondetected