Can fleas be carrier of diseases?

Antonio65

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A question that arose a couple fo days ago with a person that I know is whether fleas can be carrier of diseases among cats, namely FIV and FeLV.
The doubt came up because both I and this person are active in two different cat shelters, and in both places it has been noticed that healthy cats got positive to FeLV at a later test.
Because there is a very strong certainty that these cats didn't get in touch with sick cats, the only explanation could be that fleas carried the disease from one environment/room of the shelter, to another room.
Would this be possible?
 
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Antonio65

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It doesn't say anything about FeLV though.
I have found some websites that say it's unlikely, others say it might happen, and I found a study that says that the FeLV retrovirus was found in vitro during an experiment with fleas which were carrying the disease.
 

catloverfromwayback

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Sorry, I forgot you were asking about those diseases in particular!

I’m seeing the same results, including the one about the flea study, so no wiser.
 
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Antonio65

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Yes, this was one of the articles that I have read.

One of the cats that I rescued two years ago, and that is now at the local shelter, tested positive for FeLV three months ago when she was hospitalized at the clinic because she wasn't feeling well. She was anemic and had several fleas on her. The vets ran a few tests along with an ELISA one, and they told me she was positive.
That came as a shock because she tested negative when she was spayed one year and a half ago. The whole colony that I rescued and relocated at the shelter tested negative.

So I wonder if an infected flea from a positive cat might have "escaped" from the FeLV cats room and reached this cat and maybe others as well.
 

CatladyJan

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I’m not sure about the FeLv or FIV from a flea. I do know sometimes a cat will test negative then later positive.
 
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Antonio65

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I’m not sure about the FeLv or FIV from a flea. I do know sometimes a cat will test negative then later positive.
Because this cat came along with her friends from the same colony, and they were all close to each other for a long time, shouldn't all her friends test positive? They shared dishes and "beds" for several months.
My Freya comes from that colony, she's fine. Her mom and siblings are FIV, that's all.
 

CatladyJan

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Because this cat came along with her friends from the same colony, and they were all close to each other for a long time, shouldn't all her friends test positive? They shared dishes and "beds" for several months.
My Freya comes from that colony, she's fine. Her mom and siblings are FIV, that's all.
No, not necessarily and I don’t have the explanation why except maybe some cats are exposed but do not contacted the virus. I have a foster cat at home that initially tested negative. I have another foster from the same colony plus all my cats where around her playing, licking, sharing food dishes and litter boxes. We tested the other 2 of my fosters and they still tested negative after over 6 weeks time. I thinks it’s about the same as getting HIV from a mosquito.
 
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