Stock photo for illustration purposes only. Photo from unsplash.
A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for the new coronavirus. This is the virus that causes the highly contagious and fatal COVID-19 in humans. The 4-year-old Malayan tiger testing positive is the first instance of this kind of animal being infected, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
Nadia, the tiger who tested positive, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions “had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover,” a news release from the zoo said.
Samples from Nadia were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness, the USDA said in a release.
“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers. It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries,” the zoo’s release said.
According to zoo authorities, the tigers and lions were infected by a person caring for them who was either asymptomatic or had not yet developed symptoms.
“Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats,” the release said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals can become infected by the coronavirus, but scientists don’t believe they can spread the bug to humans.
In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID019 infection at this time,” according to the CDC.
“However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals,” the agency notes.
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