New York City’s coronavirus outbreak has made its way to the Bronx Zoo, infecting a 4-year-old Malayan tiger.
The tiger, named Nadia, tested positive for COVID-19 in what is believed to be the first known infection of an animal in the United States, federal officials and the zoo said Sunday. The infection is also thought to be the first case in a tiger worldwide.
Along with the tiger, six other tigers and lions have fallen ill with a dry cough. The Department of Agriculture said the big cats are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee. They first began showing symptoms of the coronavirus in late March, and all are expected to recover. The zoo has been closed since March 16.
“We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution” and aim to “contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Paul Calle, the zoo’s chief veterinarian.
The USDA added that there are no known cases of the coronavirus in American pets or livestock, but the tiger’s infection still raises questions about the virus’s transmission to animals. In Hong Kong, a dog tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, as did a cat in Belgium. Hong Kong authorities concluded that cats and dogs cannot pass the virus to humans but can be infected by their owners.
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