LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)  —  Officials are urging the public to vaccinate dogs and puppies against the deadly parvo virus.

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control on Wednesday said there has been a large outbreak of the often-fatal virus with many cases centered in and near the Antelope Valley.

The highly-contagious virus doesn’t affect humans.

Authorities said they have detected at least 162 cases countywide in the first four months of the year. Almost half of the cases — 70 in all — were reported in the Antelope Valley alone, said LA County Veterinarian Maria Sabio-Solacito.

Dogs infected with the virus become lethargic, have a fever and stop eating, Sabio-Solacito said. They may also vomit or have diarrhea.

Puppies should be vaccinated once they are six or eight weeks old and need to be re-vaccinated every three or four weeks until they are about 20 weeks old, she said. About a year later, they need to be vaccinated again.

The vet also recommended that adult dogs that have not been vaccinated should receive the vaccine twice — three or four weeks apart.

The virus is present in all of a dog’s bodily fluids and may be spread from dog to dog by human contact.

Authorities said te Lancaster Animal Care Center has low-cost vaccination clinics scheduled on May 11, May 25, June 8, June 22, July 6 and July 20 at 5210 W. Avenue I.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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