KAHULUI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A cat virus is causing huge concerns on Maui. The Maui Humane Society confirms the rare disease called panleukopenia has been found in Upcountry Maui. It is also known as cat distemper.
The virus can lead to sudden death for cats. Experts worry it can lead to epidemic levels especially since the cat only needs to come in contact with saliva or fluids of an infected animal.
"It is possible it is new to Maui. It is a virus that can kill very quickly," said Dr. Miyo Kim, Maui Humane Society Director of Veterinary Services. "The panleukopenia virus is very similar to the parvo virus in dogs in that it is highly contagious and can last a very long time in the environment up to a year."
So far it does not appear to have spread to other islands. The Hawaiian Humane Society says there are no current outbreaks on Oahu that it knows of. The virus has existed on the mainland for years.
Dr. Miyo says vaccinations can be highly effective. Ask your veterinarian for more information.
You can also learn more by visiting the Maui Humane Society website by clicking here.