Third panda dies from virus in NW China

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A third giant panda died Friday after contracting canine distemper virus (CDV) in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, local authorities said.

Veterinarians check on giant panda Xin Xin at the provincial wildlife rescue, breeding and research center, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Jan. 23, 2015. A third giant panda, 9-year-old Xin Xin, died Friday after contracting canine distemper virus (CDV), local authorities said. [Xinhua]

The panda, 9-year-old Xin Xin, was diagnosed with the virus that affects a wide variety of animals including dogs, primates and large cats, on Jan. 5. Xin Xin died at 4 a.m. 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.

The rescue, breeding and research center in Shaanxi is home to 25 giant pandas. Since the outbreak, the center has sent 18 healthy pandas to reserves elsewhere in the province.

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