Three raccoons in Long Beach have tested positive for distemper, city health officials said Wednesday, and while there is no risk to humans, residents were advised to take precautions to avoid the disease spreading to pets.

An animal can contract distemper through direct contact with an infected animal or its bodily secretions or waste, according to Long Beach health officials. Generally the virus does not survive long outside the body, so transmission usually requires close interaction.

Symptoms of distemper are similar to those of rabies, such as fever, red eyes and possibly coughing and vomiting.

Health officials offered a series of safety tips for residents:

— Vaccinate pets.

— Although distemper is not a risk for humans, anyone bit or scratched by a raccoon should contact their doctor.

— Feed pets indoors.

— Anyone who feeds pets outdoors should take care to remove any leftover food so it does not attract other animals.

— Do not feed wildlife.

— Restrain pets and do not allow them to roam.

Anyone who sees a sick or injured animal should call the city’s Animal Care Services at (562) 570-7387.

City News Service

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