More tigers and lions test positive for coronavirus at US zoo

Another seven big cats have been confirmed as having COVID-19 at a zoo in the US.

Four tigers and three African lions have been diagnosed at the Bronx Zoo in New York, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the zoo.

The animals were tested after a four-year-old Malayan tiger called Nadia developed a dry cough and loss of appetite in March.

Nadia tested positive on 5 April and all but one of the other cats that tested positive had symptoms at that time.

Samples were tested from Nadia’s nose, throat and respiratory tract while she was under anaesthesia, while the other animals were tested using faecal samples.

The zoo said the animals are all doing well, behaving normally and eating well.

Their coughs are also improving.

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They added: “We tested the tigers and lions 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 testing of these cats was done in veterinary laboratories and resources used did not take from those being used for human testing.

“None of the zoo’s snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma or serval are showing any signs of illness.”

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The zoo said the animals were thought to have been infected by a member of staff who showed no symptoms at the time.

Measures had been put in place to prevent further exposure to the disease, they added.

It comes after two domestic cats became the first pets in New York to test positive for the virus.

The cats, from different parts of the state, had mild respiratory illness and were expected to fully recover.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said animals and pets can get the coronavirus but there was no evidence they could transmit it to humans.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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