Updated April 6, 4:42 PM CT
Tiger test positive for COVID-19
April 5, 2020
Breaking: Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday confirmed that a tiger in a New York zoo tested positive for the coronavirus, which has infected more than 333,000 and killed more than 9,500 people across the country.
National Geographic reported that the animal was a Bronx Zoo tiger and that six other tigers and lions had shown symptoms. The tiger was a 4-year-old female named Nadia, who was expected to recover, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
In a statement, the USDA’s National Veterinary Service Laboratories said it was the first case of a tiger being infected with COVID-19.
“Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus,” USDA said. “The zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March, and the first tiger began showing signs of sickness on March 27. All of these large cats are expected to recover. There is no evidence that other animals in other areas of the zoo are showing symptoms.”
The tiger was reported to have developed a dry cough and a decreased appetite. The tiger’s sister, named Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions showed symptoms, but all are also expected to recover.
USDA said along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the situation was being monitored alongside state and local health departments and state animal health officials, who will “take the lead in making determinations about whether animals, either at this zoo or in other areas, should be tested.”
USDA also notified the World Organization for Animal Health of the finding.
As federal and state governments have issued tight travel restrictions and advised social distancing to keep humans at least six feet apart to prevent spreading the disease, the USDA advised anyone who’s contracted COVID-19 to restrict contact with animals, including pets, during their illness.
“If a sick person must care for a pet or be around animals, they should wash their hands before and after the interaction,” USDA said.
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