The animal was tested positive after it was exposed to a care worker who was infected.
This pandemic has claimed the lives of many across the world. Recently, the deadly virus was reported to have affected an animal through a human tested positive for the coronavirus in New York City.
According to the BBC, a four-year-old female Malayan tiger named Nadia was recently found to be infected by the virus. The animal from the Bronx Zoo is known to be the first animal tested positive for the virus in the United States. As per the zoo authorities, the test results were confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.
A Malayan tiger name Nadia has tested positive for coronavirus the Bronx Zoo in New York City, and 6 other big cats are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. This is the first case of a wild animal contracting the disease from a person, who was most likely an asymptomatic zookeeper pic.twitter.com/axXVvnKD8j— BFM News (@NewsBFM) April 6, 2020
The tests were done for six tigers including Nadia, her sister Azul and two Amur tigers and three African lions after they started showing symptoms such as dry cough. They were exposed to an asymptomatic zookeeper who was tested positive. "Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms," said the zoo, according to the BBC.
"This is the first time that any of us know of anywhere in the world that a person infected the animal and the animal got sick," said Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian at the zoo to Reuters, according to BBC.
Though a few instances of pets being tested positive were reported, no evidence of animals becoming sick or developing symptoms were found by experts. With no prior knowledge of how the virus can infect animals such as lions and tigers, the officials are closely monitoring the affected zoo animals.
Meanwhile, the zoo officials stated that they are ready to pass on their findings regarding the virus in animals to other zoos and research institutions. "We tested the cat [Nadia] 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," stated the officials, according to BBC. They stated that other than low appetite issues, the animals were doing well. They "are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers," said the zoo authorities.
A tiger has tested positive for #coronavirus, sparking concern over whether animals can transmit #COVID_19 to humans. Here is everything you need to know about coronavirus, pets, and animals.https://t.co/OMMiL6e0sT— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 6, 2020
They also said that they were confident of the animals attainting full recovery very soon. The zoo also informed that no other big cats were showing any symptoms. However, it was not made clear if the other animals would be tested for the virus.
All four zoos run by the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York City have been closed since 16 March 2020. In light of the new event, they have implemented new safety measures to protect the animals and their caretakers.
A 4 year old Tiger & 3 African lions at a Zoo in New York City have tested positive for coronavirus. Doctors expect all to recover from disease believed to have first been transferred to humans at a wild animal meat market in Wuhan, China.#Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/FaC0rG1t5h— Gor Ogutu 🇰🇪 (@IAmOgutu) April 6, 2020
The positive results in Nadia have raised other concerns about human-to-animal transmission and vice versa. “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," said Jane Rooney, a veterinarian, and a USDA official, according to Al -Jazeera. The WHO too supported similar claims. However, it has urged infected people to limit contact with their pets.
Meanwhile, cases of two companion dogs from Hong Kong tested positive was previously reported.