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WYLIE, Texas (AP) A spokeswoman for a North Texas animal sanctuary where seven big cats have died of a virus says the worst of the outbreak appears to be over even though some cats still show symptoms.

Lisa Williams said Monday that 22 animals lions, tigers and leopards tested positive for canine distemper at the height of the outbreak over the summer at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center. Besides the seven cats killed by the virus, other animals either no longer show any signs or exhibit minor symptoms such as loss of appetite.

Experts believe raccoons transferred the virus into the large outdoor cages that house the cats.

Williams says a lion named Sabu died Sunday but at 23 years old his death was attributed to old age and infirmity.

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