"The cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers."

By Cailey Rizzo
Updated June 01, 2020
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A tiger at New York City’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus.

After several lions and tigers at the zoo began showing signs of respiratory illness recently, a test from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed that at least one tiger has been infected with the disease, according to a press release.

The tiger who was tested is a four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia. Although her sister, Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions have also developed similar symptoms — including a dry cough — only one tiger was tested for COVID-19 as the test requires a large amount of general anesthesia for each animal.

All the animals are expected to fully recover.

Several of the other animals that live in the zoo’s Tiger Mountain exhibit have not developed symptoms.

Public health officials believe that the large cats came in contact with the disease from an asymptomatic zoo employee.

“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement on Sunday. “It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries.”

The zoo has been closed since March 15.

Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

The tiger’s infection is a reminder that animals can be infected with the coronavirus, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no evidence of pets spreading the virus to people, it is still worth taking precautionary measures "because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick."

If you believe you  are sick with COVID-19, you should limit your contact with animals and if there is no alternative to your pet's care, than wash your hands before and after attending to them. For more information follow the CDC's guide to keeping pets healthy.

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