POSTED: 10:40 a.m. HST, Jul 10, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 11:26 a.m. HST, Jul 10, 2014
WAILUKU >> A deadly cat virus that has hit eight felines on the island since May can't be contained, the Maui Humane Society's top veterinarian said.
The latest case of feline panleukopenia was confirmed in a cat from populated central Maui, The Maui News reported.
Miyo Miyasaki-Kim, director of the Humane Society's veterinary service, said the case in the highly populated area means there's no way to stop the virus from spreading.
"It is going to change our life here at the shelter," she said.
Miyasaki-Kim said the virus is a top problem for shelters on the U.S. mainland.
The first three confirmed cases were in an isolated area, but hopes to contain it were a long shot, she said.
The virus attacks white blood cells and can lead to death. Animals spread it through direct contact or contact with contaminated food dishes, bedding or people who have treated infected cats.
Cats can be vaccinated to protect them from the virus and other respiratory diseases. The Humane Society is planning two vaccination clinics this month in addition to one held last week.
The virus can remain active for as long as one year in the wild, and it can move on shoes, car tires and other surfaces.