Four more tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York have tested positive for coronavirus, the National Geographic reported. This comes nearly three weeks after one tiger at the zoo was confirmed to have the virus and six other cats were said to be exhibiting symptoms.
The four-year-old Malayan tiger, named Nadia, was tested after it started showing signs of illness on March 27, 11 days after the zoo closed to the public because of the virus. Three other tigers and three lions later showed symptoms. Tests subsequently confirmed they all had the virus.
Zoo officials said they believe the animals were exposed by a keeper who had the virus but wasn’t showing symptoms at the time.
All the affected cats are doing well, with good appetites and much less coughing, the zoo said, news agency AP reported.
It is not clear when the additional tests on the three lions and four tigers were conducted or when the zoo received the results, the National Geographic added in the report. It also quoted a zoo spokesperson saying that the additional tests were done using fecal samples and did not require sedation.
In another development, two pet cats in New York state also tested positive, marking the first confirmed cases in companion animals in the United States, federal officials said. The cats, which had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to recover, are thought to have contracted the virus from people in their households or neighbourhoods, the US Department of Agriculture and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
US authorities say that while it appears some animals can get the virus from people, there’s no indication the animals are transmitting it to human beings.