LONG BEACH, Calif. – At the Long Beach Animal Care Services shelter 12 cats have died from an extremely dangerous virus.

Bureau manager Staycee Dains says all were diagnosed with Feline Panleukopenia Virus, which is highly contagious. The virus can’t spread to humans or other animal species.

While there is a vaccine that is effective for up to three years, it isn’t very helpful for cats who are younger than five months.

Dains is working to implement stringent cleanliness protocol.

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“I take it personally in that as an animal welfare professional you never want to see something be cross contaminated in your shelter,” said Dains.

The virus lives and is spread through fecal matter. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and stumbling around.

There are about 260 cats at Long Beach Animal Care Services; most of them are healthy and ready for adoption. Only a few rooms are under quarantine, which could be lifted before the end of October.

Dains says the best way to keep your feline safe is to vaccinate.