Tiger at Bronx zoo: positive coronavirus test: US officials – National


NEW YORK – A Bronx zoo tiger tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what would be the first known infection in an animal in the United States or a tiger anywhere, federal and zoo officials said Sunday .

The 4-year-old Malaysian tiger named Nadia – and six other tigers and lions who also fell ill – was reportedly infected by a zoo worker who was not yet showing symptoms, the zoo said. The first animal started showing symptoms on March 27, and all are doing well and are expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16 amid the New York coronavirus outbreak.

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“These are extremely difficult days for all of us, no matter where we live and work. We will make sure that everything we can learn from these circumstances is used to better understand and combat this disease, “said zoo director Jim Breheny in a statement.

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This discovery raises new questions about the transmission of the virus in animals. The United States Department of Agriculture, which confirmed the results of Nadia’s tests in its veterinary laboratory, says that there is no known case of virus in domestic animals or American cattle.

“There does not currently appear to be any evidence to suggest that animals can transmit the virus to humans or that they can be a source of infection in the United States,” said Dr. Jane Rooney, veterinarian and a USDA official, said in an interview.

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The USDA said on Sunday that it does not recommend routine testing of coronaviruses on animals, in zoos or elsewhere, or on zoo workers. Still according to Rooney, a small number of animals in the United States have been tested by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, and all but negative except Nadia’s.

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Coronavirus epidemics around the world are caused by person-to-person transmission, experts say.

There have been a handful of reports outside of the United States of infected pet dogs or cats after close contact with contagious people, including a Hong Kong dog that tested positive at a low level of pathogen in February and early March. Agricultural officials in Hong Kong have concluded that companion dogs and cats cannot transmit the virus to humans, but can be positive if exposed by their owners.

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According to the World Organization for Animal Health, based in Paris, some researchers are trying to understand the sensitivity of different animal species to the virus and to determine how it spreads among animals.

The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that as a precaution, people with coronavirus limit contact with animals – advice that the veterinary group reiterated after learning the test result. tiger.

In general, the CDC also advises people to wash their hands after handling animals and do other things to keep pets and their homes clean.

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At the Bronx Zoo, Nadia, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions developed a dry cough and some of the cats experienced wheezing and loss of appetite, said Dr. Paul Calle, chief zoo veterinarian. He said the zoo has done the coronavirus test to be further.

Only Nadia has been tested because it takes anesthesia to get a sample of a large cat. Her temperature was taken at the same time and it was normal, said Calle.

The seven sick cats live in two areas of the zoo and the animals have been in contact with the same worker, who is doing well, zoo officials said. They said they were taking “appropriate preventive measures” for staff members who care for sick animals and that there were no signs of illness in other large cats on the property.

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For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as a fever and cough, which go away within two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and the elderly, it can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia, and can be fatal.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press


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