Tiger ‘Nadia’ Tests positive For COVID-19 at NYC’s Bronx Zoo
This is believed to be the first animal Coronavirus infection in the U.S. A tiger has tested positive for Coronavirus at Bronx Zoo New York told the zoo officials on Sunday. The Malayan tiger is 4 years old and is named Nadia. Six other lions and tigers are showing symptoms of Coronavirus and are ill. The animals are believed to have got the infection from a zoo employee, who was not showing any symptoms yet.
Nadia started showing symptoms on March 27th and is doing well and recover soon, said the zoo officials. The zoo has been shut down since March 16 to the public due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Zoo officials were stunned by the test results.
“Any kind of knowledge that we get on how it’s transmitted, how different species react to it, that knowledge somehow is going to provide a greater base resource for people,” director Jim Breheny 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,” the statement sent to AFP said.
“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” the statement continued.
“It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries.”
“There doesn’t appear to be, at this time, any evidence that suggests that the animals can spread the virus to people or that they can be a source of the infection in the United States,” said Dr. Jane Rooney, a USDA official, and veterinarian.
Many researchers are trying to learn the susceptibility of various animal species to Coronavirus and understand how it spreads in animals, said animal health world organization.
The seven sick cats live in two parts of the zoo and all the cats had contact with the same zoo worker. The other cats of the zoo have no signs of illness.
Zoo staff workers will wear infection protection gear who work near the infected cats just like primate workers have been doing for many years because the animal has very close genetic ties with human beings.
For most people especially young with string immunity, Coronavirus shows mild to moderate symptoms like cough and fever which recovers in 2-3 weeks. For older people and people with severe health conditions, Coronavirus can cause severe illnesses like pneumonia and can also cause death.
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