Home Animals Malayan tiger at Bronx Zoo tested positive for coronavirus

Malayan tiger at Bronx Zoo tested positive for coronavirus

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New York – Federal officials confirmed a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19, the first known instance of a tiger being infected with the virus.

Nadia, a four-year-old Malayan tiger, was tested after her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions developed a dry cough. The animals are all expected to recover.

“We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus,” said the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the Bronx Zoo.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the tests on Sunday and is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state animal and public health leaders to determine whether animals, at the zoo or in other areas, should be tested for COVID-19.

The USDA said there have not been reports of pets being infected with COVID-19 in the United States, but recommended that people with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. If a sick person must care for a pet or be around animals, they should wash their hands before and after the interaction, the department said.

Officials believe the Bronx Zoo animals became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was “actively shedding virus.” According to the zoo, the person caring for the large cats was either “asymptomatically infected with the virus” or cared for the animals “before that person 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 conservation society said.

The zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March, and the first tiger began showing signs of sickness on March 27. No other animals at the zoo are showing symptoms of the virus, according to the USDA.

Follow Jessie Gomez on Twitter: @jessiereport

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