Zoo Tiger Tests Positive

Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan, showed symptoms in March
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 5, 2020 5:10 PM CDT
Zoo Tiger Tests Positive
This file photo shows an entrance to the Bronx Zoo in New York.   (AP Photo/Jim Fitzgerlad, File)

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the US or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said Sunday, per the AP. The 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia—and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill—are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who wasn't yet showing symptoms, the zoo said. The first animal started showing symptoms March 27, and all are doing well and expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16 amid the surging coronavirus outbreak in New York.

"These are extremely hard days for all of us—no matter where we live and work. We will ensure that whatever we can learn from these circumstances will be used to better understand and combat this disease," says zoo director Jim Breheny. The finding raises new questions about transmission of the virus in animals. The US Department of Agriculture, which confirmed Nadia's test result at its veterinary lab, says there are no known cases of the virus in US 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," says a USDA official, but there are reports of pet dogs or cats outside the US getting infected after contact with contagious people.

(More coronavirus stories.)

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