7 Frequently asked Questions about Feline Aids (FIV)

When was feline aids virus (FIV) first discovered in Kruger?
In 1991 when 98 blood samples collected over a 14-year period, dating back to 1977 were tested. The lions have thus been infected at least as far back as 1977.

Is it the same as HIV (Human AIDS)?
Although it belongs to the same virus family (Retroviridae) as the HIV virus it is not the same organism.

Does FIV only occur in the Kruger National Park?
Epidemiological surveys indicate that FIV is distributed worldwide in domestic and feral cats and antibodies reactive to FIV have been detected in 30/53 African lions surveyed in European zoos. Animals from zoos in South Africa also tested positive.

Does FIV have the same effect on animals as the HIV virus has on humans (suppression of the immune system)?
There is no evidence to suggest that the lions are unduly subject to disease as might be expected if they are suffering from an FIV-like immunodeficiency, but further work is required to determine if infection affects the immune status of the animals.

How many lions are infected?
As many as 80% of the population.

Have any other animals from Kruger tested positive?
Only one leopard.

Did eating humans, infected with HIV, infect the lions?
Absolutely not.

You can also read about TB in Animals here! Or if you are interested in our academic field trips, click here.

Susi Anderson


About Andrew Anderson

Managing Director: African Insight - Travel Experiences That Make A Difference African Insight - Explorations Tourism Concessionaire - Somkhanda Game Reserve
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