7 animals test positive for coronavirus in New York zoo

Seven animals in total at the Bronx Zoo have now tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

It happened weeks after a tiger was tested positive at the same zoo. Additionally, four more tigers and three lions have also tested positive for novel coronavirus, most of the animals had coughs.

The diagnosis of the tiger, named Nadia, represented “the first time, to our knowledge, that a [wild] animal has gotten sick from COVID-19 from a person,” Paul Calle, chief veterinarian for the Bronx Zoo, said April 5.

The big cats likely contracted the coronavirus from an infected but asymptomatic zookeeper whose identity is unknown, Calle says: “It’s the only thing that makes sense.” Calle added.

“Preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four zoos, to prevent further exposure of any of our felids in our zoos to the disease,” according to the authorities.

There have been a handful of reports outside the U.S. of pet dogs or cats becoming infected after close contact with contagious people, including a Hong Kong dog that tested positive for a low level of the pathogen in February and early March.

Hong Kong agriculture authorities concluded that pet dogs and cats couldn’t pass the virus to human beings but could test positive if exposed by their owners.

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