News Details
ANIMAL HEALTH UPDATE: Feline Panleukopenia Outbreak in Los Angeles County

The Veterinary Public Health Program has been notified of more than 40
cats with confirmed cases of Panleukopenia in the areas of North
Hollywood, Porter Ranch, and Lincoln Heights. The vast majority were
kittens, and nearly all of them died. Due to the distance between
reporting areas, we suspect this is a widespread outbreak, and more
cases will likely occur.

Panleukopenia is an often-fatal viral disease of cats that causes
fever, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme dehydration, and/or sudden death 2-14
days post exposure. The route of transmission is fecal-oral, and the
virus can survive in the environment for over one year. Infected cats
become contagious to other cats 2-3 days before signs appear, as well as
up to six weeks post recovery. Adult cats can become infected, and be
contagious, without showing symptoms. The causative virus is extremely
hardy, and despite claims of some over-the-counter products, is only
killed by bleach (˝ cup per 1 gallon water) or potassium
peroxymonosulfate (Trifectant or Virkin-S) with 10 minutes of contact
time.

Kittens between the ages of 2-5 months are the most vulnerable. In a
shelter situation, all cats older than four weeks of age should receive
a modified live subcutaneous vaccination immediately upon entry, as this
option provides the most rapid and effective protection. Additionally,
cats under 16 weeks should receive boosters every two weeks. If an
outbreak is suspected at your shelter, cats should be kept in separate
kennels, and all possible fomites should be properly disinfected.

All other kittens (i.e., owned kittens) should receive a dose of FVRCP
vaccine at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age with a booster no later than 1
year following the last dose in the initial series.

Diagnosis can be made by testing a fecal sample or rectal swab using a
canine parvovirus antigen test (e.g., IDEXX SNAP® Parvo Test). This
test appears to be reasonably sensitive for detecting Panleukopenia
virus.

A client handout is included with this email for your use.

The only way we can track panleukopenia cases in our county is by
hearing from you! Please report all panleukopenia cases in LA County to
our program by completing the Vaccine Preventable Disease Reporting
Form, which should be faxed to (213) 481-2375.

Would you like to contribute to genetic research on panlaukopenia? Dr.
Peggy Barr, from Western University, College of Veterinary Medicine, is
studying the virus. Local veterinarians may submit fecal material from
sick cats to her for PCR testing. Submitting veterinarians will be
informed of results, however, testing is for research purposes and
results are not available quickly. To submit a fecal sample from a sick
cat to Dr. Barr, collect a small amount of feces in a red top tube from
the cat, label it with the date and cat's name, and freeze the sample.
Before you fax the Vaccine Preventable Disease Reporting Form to our
office, write a note on the form "Frozen feces for Dr. Barr." Our
office will arrange to pick up the sample. For more information, call
Dr. Barr at 909-469-5667.

If you have any questions, you can contact us at (213) 989-7060. Thank
you for you assistance with local animal disease surveillance. Your
reports help us in our effort to prevent widespread outbreaks.

Thank you to the individuals in North Hollywood, Porter Ranch, and
Lincoln Heights for reporting cases to us. 

Panleukopenia Client Handout
VaccPrevDis Report Form