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Fourth panda dies from virus in NW China

2015-02-06 08:42 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping
File photo of Feng Feng.

File photo of Feng Feng.

A fourth giant panda died in northwest China's Shaanxi Province Wednesday from canine distemper virus (CDV).

The panda, 6-year-old Feng Feng, died from heart failure after days of treatment, Shaanxi rescue, breeding and research center for rare wild animals said in a statement.

The virus affects a wide variety of animals including dogs, primates and large cats. Feng Feng was diagnosed on Dec. 26 and fell into a coma on Jan. 8.

Three giant panda in the center have died from the virus since December. Another four have recovered and no more are infected.

CDV affects the gastrointestinal system, the respiratory tract and central nervous system. Infected animals usually exhibit symptoms that include coughing, diarrhea, eye inflammation, fever, lethargy and vomiting. It is very contagious with a high fatality rate and usually commonly spread through contact with infected body fluids or contaminated food and water.

Prior to the epidemic, the center was home to 25 giant panda. After the outbreak, the center sent its healthy pandas to reserves elsewhere in the province.

Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. About 1,600 of the animals live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, south west China, while more than 300 live in captivity.

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