Apr 6, 2020

COVID-19 continues its spread worldwide—and now it has included more animals into its list of victims.

On Apr. 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a tiger from the Bronx Zoo in New York City has tested positive for the virus, while six other animals in the area are showing symptoms of the illness and are under monitoring as well.

“It’s the first time, to our knowledge, that a [wild] animal has gotten sick from COVID-19 from a person,” Bronx Zoo’s chief veterinarian Paul Calle said.

The infected feline is identified as Nadia, a four-year-old Malayan tiger who developed a dry cough in late March and was tested on Apr. 2. Her sister, as well as two Siberian tigers and three African lions, were observed to have coughs and loss of appetite as well. However, the six others have not been tested for the virus yet.

Currently, the seven animals are under veterinary care and are expected to recover from the virus, while the zoo has been closed to the public since Mar. 16. It is suspected that Nadia caught the virus from an infected yet unknown asymptomatic zookeeper.

Although Nadia was observed to have a case of cough, there is no specified list of symptoms for animals infected with COVID-19 yet.

Earlier in March, another animal infected with COVID-19 was documented in the city of Hong Kong. Most likely catching it from its owner who was confirmed to have the virus, the pet cat (who was asymptomatic) marks the third case of a domesticated animal bearing the illness in the city.

Prior to this announcement from Hong Kong’s Agricultural and Fisheries department, two dogs were also confirmed to have contracted the virus in the city. The Hong Kong Veterinary Association also said that another case of a COVID-19-infected pet cat was reported in Belgium as well.

Despite its spread to animals, the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that there is no evidence yet that any domestic or captive wild animal can transmit the virus to people, and thus these cases should not cause alarm.


Header photo by A G on Unsplash

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TAGS: coronavirus covid-19 COVID-19 infected animal COVID-19 infected tiger