A 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia is now the first known case of Novel Coronavirus in an animal in the United States or tiger anywhere in the world.
They zoo keepers said that the animal started showing symptoms around March 27th and is thought to have been infected by a zoo employee. Along with the tiger six other tigers and lions have fallen ill. They believe that the zoo employee was not showing symptoms when the cats were infected. The zoo has been closed to the public since March 16th.
“There doesn’t appear to be, at this time, any evidence that suggests that the animals can spread the virus to people or that they can be a source of the infection in the United States,” said Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and a USDA official.
But the finding does raise questions about how the virus can be transmitted. We at least know know that the virus can transmit to animals. However there are no known cases of coronavirus being transmitted to pets or livestock in the United States.
Since this is the first case of a known animal infection the USDA is not recommending routine COVID-19 testing of animals. That said of the animals that have been tested so far in the U.S. only Nadia’s has come back positive.
What we know about Coronavirus transmission still holds to the fact that it is spread by humans coming in contact with objects and transferring it via coughing or touching. Best practice via the CDC is to continually wash your hands after going out and to wear a mask outside whenever you leave the house. You can also wear gloves but keep in mind if you touch something with the gloves it needs to be sanitized before touching it bare handed.
Stay home, Stay Safe!