Tiger At NYC’s Bronx Zoo Tests Positive For Coronavirus; Considered To Be A First

by Gizel Menezes
Tiger At NYC’s Bronx Zoo Tests Positive For Coronavirus; Considered To Be A First

In what is considered to be the first known case of coronavirus in an animal in the United States, a tiger at the Bronx zoo in New York City has tested positive for COVID-19 after she came in contact with an asymptomatic caretaker.

Image Courtesy: Dailythanthi

Tiger At Bronx Zoo Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, has become the first animal in the United States to be infected by the coronavirus, as confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa. Nadia, along with her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, who wasn’t showing symptoms of the virus.

The first animal started showing symptoms on March 27, which included dry cough. Apart from that, the big cats also showed some decrease in appetite.

“This is the first time that any of us know of anywhere in the world that a person infected the animal and the animal got sick,” Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian at the zoo, said. “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.”

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The cats are expected to make a full recovery, according to zoo officials. “They are doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers.” The zoo also said that it is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species react differently to novel infections, but they would continue to monitor the animals closely.
Meanwhile, all four zoos run by the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York City, including the Bronx Zoo, have been closed to the public since March 16. New measures have been put in place to protect the animals and their caretakers at all the facilities.

Do Animals Get Infected By The Coronavirus?

There is “no evidence that any person has been infected with COVID-19 in the US by animals, including by pet dogs or cats,” the Bronx Zoo’s official statement noted.

Even according to the World Organisation for Animal Health and the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats can pass on the coronavirus.

However, studies are still being carried on to understand the issue. It has been recommended that people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should limit contact with animals until more information about the virus is known.

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