A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to federal officials at the zoo, It is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S, or a tiger anywhere.
Nadia, 4-year-old Malayan tiger, along with six other tigers and lions has also fallen ill. They are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who wasn’t showing symptoms yet. On March 27, the first animal started showing symptoms, however, all animals are doing well and expected to recover soon. The zoo has been closed to the public viewing since March 16 because of the surging cases of coronavirus infections in New York.
The test result also left the zoo officials stunned and director Jim Breheny said “I couldn’t believe it.” “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,” he said in an interview.
However, this finding brings new questions about the transmission of the virus in animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Nadia’s test result at its veterinary lab. The Department said there are no known cases of the coronavirus infections in U.S. pets or livestock.
“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,” Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and a USDA official, said in an interview.
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