A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for COVID-19 — the first known case of coronavirus in an animal. The cat is a Malayan tiger named “Nadia,” according to the Bronx Zoo’s chief veterinarian.
The US Dept of Agriculture made the announcement on Sunday, after its National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed SARS-CoV-2. Samples from the tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo began showing symptoms of respiratory illness as early as March 27, according to the USDA. The zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March.
According to the Bronx Zoo, the tiger did not receive a human COVID-19 test but was given a veterinary test. “There is no competition for testing between these very different situations,” the zoo’s chief vet said on twitter.
You cannot send human samples to the veterinary laboratory, and you cannot send animal tests to the human laboratories, so there is no competition for testing between these very different situations."— Bronx Zoo (@BronxZoo) April 6, 2020
“Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus,” the USDA statement said. “All of these large cats are expected to recover.”
No other animals at the zoo are showing symptoms, the USDA said.
According to the CDC, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.
In other Tiger-COVID-19 news, on Friday, “Tiger King” Joe Exotic was put in prison quarantine after allegedly being exposed to coronavirus.