In a first of its kind, a tiger in New York’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus. The officials of the zoo confirmed the news and also speculated the possibility of it getting contracted through a caretaker who was asymptomatic at the time.
Less than four weeks ago, the World Health Organisation had confirmed that there is no evidence of the novel coronavirus getting infected to animals. The news on Monday morning came as a shock to the animal lovers and the medical fraternity as a tiger had tested positive for COVID-19. With this development, the animal world is also in danger along with the human species.
Nadia, the four-year-old Malayan Tiger along with her sister Azul and three other lions developed dry coughs. The wildlife conservation society said that they are expecting the animals to fully recover. The official further said,
“We tested the cat 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.”
Despite infection, there are signs of recovery
As a sign of relief, according to the officials, despite their appetite being decreased, the animals are doing very well under veterinary care and are bright and interactive with their keepers. There is uncertainty on how the virus will develop in cats as different species react differently to disease.
Although there is no evidence of animal’s role in the transmission of COVID-19 apart from how it initially originated in the wet market of Wuhan, the four zoos and an aquarium in New York City have been under lockdown since 16th of March.
The United States Department of Agriculture has not yet found any evidence of pets being contracted with the virus and falling ill until Nadia happened. Despite that, the United States government has advised people with symptoms to stay away from their pets until more information on the virus is known.
Around late March, a wild cat was reported to be positive of the novel coronavirus in Belgium and similar cases were reported on two dogs from Hong Kong. In both cases, the virus is seen to be infected by the people the pets live with.