Virus strikes pandas, killing three so far, two others in critical condition

A third giant panda has died after contracting canine distemper virus (CDV) in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

The virus affects a wide variety of animals including dogs, primates and large cats and now pandas. The latest panda who died was Xin Xin, a nine-year-old who died on Friday.

Another two pandas, Cheng Cheng and Da Bao, both eight years old, died on Dec. 9 and Jan. 4. Xin Xin used to share accommodation with Da Bao.

Another two pandas Feng Feng and Zhu Zhu are ill. Feng Feng is in a very critical condition; Zhu Zhu is stable.

CDV affects the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, as well as the spinal cord and the brain. Infected animals usually have symptoms including high fever, eye inflammation, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. It is highly contagious with a high fatality rate, commonly spread through contact with infected body fluids or contaminated food and water.


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