Tiger at New York zoo tests positive for coronavirus

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A 4-year-old tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus. It is believed to be the first known case of animal coronavirus infection in the US.

Tiger at New York zoo tests positive for coronavirus

The tiger, named Nadia, and six other big cats at the zoo were reportedly exhibiting symptoms of COVID 19, mainly a dry cough. The zoo said that Nadia was tested for COVID-19 “out of an abundance of caution”.

They believe that someone who was asymptomatically infected with the coronavirus cared for the big cats in the zoo, leading to their infection.

HuffPost reports that the other big cats that exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 were Nadia’s sister, three African lions, and two Amur tigers. According to the Bronx Zoo, all of them are expected to make a full recovery. When Nadia exhibited respiratory symptoms, she was tested for other diseases before zoo officials decided to test her for COVID-19.

Nadia was given the test considering New York City is “an epicenter for COVID right now in the pandemic,” according to Bronx Zoo Chief Veterinarian Dr. Paul Calle. Because big cats would have to be anesthetized before being tested, they decided to test only Nadia.

Her positive coronavirus result was then confirmed by the US National Veterinary Services Laboratory. Calle said, “This is the first time we know of, or from any of the people we’ve been in contact with, that an animal has gotten sick with COVID 19”.

The Bronx Zoo is operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is now implementing measures to protect their staff and animals in three other zoos.

The World Health Organization states that there is no evidence that animals can transmit the virus, despite two dogs testing positive for the virus in Hong Kong and one cat testing positive in Belgium.

According to the scientific research journal Nature, Chinese researchers from the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute have found that cats can be infected with the coronavirus.

However, they conducted lab experiments on a small number of animals purposely given high doses of the coronavirus. Therefore, it is not representative of real-life interactions between humans and their pets.

The researchers said that none of the infected cats in the study showed symptoms of COVID-19, and only one out of three cats exposed to infected cats caught the virus.

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