Staff at the Bronx Zoo, which has been closed since March 16, first reported that a four-year-old female Malayan tiger named Nadia had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 5 and that three other tigers and three African lions were also showing similar symptoms but had yet to be tested.
However, after test samples from Nadia were collected from her nose, throat and respiratory tract while she was under anesthesia, the zoo confirmed that the three tigers and three African lions that were exhibiting coughing symptoms all tested positive for COVID-19.
Another tiger that did not show any symptoms for coronavirus was also tested was subsequently found to have tested positive for the disease bringing the total number of sick cats at the zoo, five tigers and three lions, to eight.
While Nadia, the first tiger to have been reported sick was tested under anesthesia, the other cats were tested by using a fecal sample test developed by the zoo’s laboratory partners that did not require the animals be placed under anesthesia.
The cats contracted the virus from “a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms,” according to an April 5 statement from the zoo.
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