A four-year-old female Malayan tiger – named Nadia at the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for COVID-19.
Nadia, was screened for the COVID-19 disease after developing a dry cough along with three other tigers and three lions, late last month after exposure to the employee who has not been identified.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have spread from animals to humans, and a handful of animals have tested positive in Hong Kong.
But officials believe this is a unique case because Nadia became sick after exposure to an asymptomatic zoo employee, Paul Calle, chief veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo, told Reuters. Calle said they did not know which employee infected the tiger.
This is the first known case of an animal being infected with coronavirus through human contact, the zoo’s chief veterinarian said after the test result was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.
Nadia, her sister Azul, as well as two Amur tigers and three African lions who showed symptoms, are all expected to make a full recovery, the zoo said.
World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats can pass on coronavirus since no person has been infected with COVID-19 via pet dogs or cats till date.