Tiger tests positive for Covid-19 at Bronx Zoo in New York, six other animals show symptoms

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 06, 2020

Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, that the zoo said on April 5, 2020 has tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen in an undated handout photo provided by the Bronx zoo in New York.   -  REUTERS

A four-year-old female Malayan tiger, Nadia from the Bronx Zoo in New York City, has tested positive for the coronavirus according to media reports.

Nadia is believed to be the first known case where transmission of the novel coronavirus from human to an animal has been confirmed according to a Reuters report.

The test result was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa, the report said.

Nadia is believed to have been infected by a zoo-keeper who was asymptomatic at the time. Six other animals, including lions and tigers, have been showing symptoms and are believed to have been infected with Covid-19, it said.

The big cats had started showing symptoms, including dry cough last month after being exposed to the asymptomatic zoo-keeper who has not been identified.

The zoo had decided to test Nadia’s sample after her symptoms had gotten more severe than the others infected. The tiger had displayed a loss of appetite amid other signs, including dry cough.

An ambulance goes inside of the Bronx Zoo as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease continues in the Bronx borough of New York City, US, on April 5, 2020.   -  Reuters


Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo, had said that this was the first time that a case of human to the animal transmission had been confirmed across the world and the animal had gotten sick.

The findings of Nadia’s case will be shared with other zoos and institutions to better understand the nature of this virus as per reports.

Previously, two dogs and a cat had tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong. The asymptomatic animals were pets of confirmed Covid-19 patients. Hong Kong had then set guidelines requiring pets of coronavirus patients to be quarantined in a government facility until they test negative for Covid-19.

Apart from human beings, multiple viruses belonging to the coronaviruses family can affect mammals, including cats, dogs, pigs, cattle, camels, hedgehogs and birds. The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is believed to have transferred on to humans from animals.

The US’ Centres for Disease Control (CDC) last month had said that further studies would be required to comprehend how animals could be affected by Covid-19.

Published on April 06, 2020

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