A tiger at a New York City zoo has tested positive for coronavirus in what is believed to be the first known Covid-19 case in a US animal or tiger anywhere, zoo officials said.
The four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia, and six other lions and tigers, have reportedly become ill at the Bronx Zoo after they were believed to be infected with coronavirus by a zoo employee. the US Department of Agriculture said.
Officials said the first animal first began showing symptoms on March 27. All of the lions and tigers are expected to recover, according to the zoo which has been closed since March 16.
‘(Nadia), her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover’ the Wildlife Conservation Society announced Sunday.
‘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 interact with their keepers,’ the statement continued.
Paul Calle, the zoo’s head veterinarian, said: ‘We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution (to)…contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.’
The shocking findings have raised further questions about the virus’s ability to infect animals. The USDA previously said there were no known cases of coronavirus in US pets or livestock.
‘It’s important to assure pet owners and animal owners that at this time there isn’t any evidence that they can spread the virus,’ Dr Jane Rooney, a USDA veterinarian, told ABC.
However, there have reportedly been cases of pets outside the US becoming infected by the virus, which has killed over 9,500 Americans and infected more than 333,000.
In February, a dog in Hong Kong reportedly tested positive for a low level of the virus, although health officials in Hong Kong said that pets could not pass the virus to humans.
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