World News

Tiger at Bronx Zoo Tests Positive for COVID-19

Nadia, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York, has tested positive for coronavirus in what is believed to be a case of “human-to-cat transmission.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “this is the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19.” It also noted that although only one tiger was tested, the virus appeared to have infected other animals as well.

The four-year-old female Malayan tiger tested positive after developing a dry cough and early symptoms. She had appeared visibly sick by March 27. However, as stated by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in a news release, she is expected to recover.

“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 zoo said.

“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.”

The COVID-19 testing that was performed on Nadia was performed in a veterinary school laboratory and is not the same test used for people.

The animals were believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who was “asymptomatically infected with the virus” while caring for them, according to the zoo. While the zookeepers generally keep a barrier between themselves and the cats, they do get within a few feet of the animals.

“During the course of feeding and doing enrichment they will come within feet of them but on opposite sides of the barrier,” a zoo official stated.

The Bronx Zoo has been closed to the public since March 16.

Anyone sick with the coronavirus is being advised to minimize contact with animals, including pets, until more information is known about the virus, the USDA said.

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