Health and Science

Tiger at the Bronx Zoo tests positive for the coronavirus

Key Points
  • A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for the coronavirus. 
  • The 4-year-old female Malaysian tiger, Nadia, had developed a dry cough and was tested "out of an abundance of caution," the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo said in a statement. 
  • It is the first confirmed COVID-19 case in a tiger, according to the Department of Agriculture. 
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A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The 4-year-old female Malaysian tiger, Nadia, had developed a dry cough and was tested "out of an abundance of caution," the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo said in a statement

The diagnosis was confirmed by the Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories. It is the first confirmed COVID-19 case in a tiger, according to the USDA

Several tigers and lions at the zoo showed symptoms of a respiratory illness, the USDA said. 

The tiger who tested positive is believed to have become infected by a zoo employee. The tiger first began to show symptoms on March 27, the USDA said. 

"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's statement said. 

"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 Bronx Zoo was closed on March 16 as cases of COVID-19 in New York began to grow. 

The first human infections of the new coronavirus have been linked to a live animal market in Wuhan, China, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The CDC does "not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19," according to its website. But it stresses that more information is needed to understand precisely "if and how" COVID-19 affects different species of animals. 

A dog in Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19 in late February. The World Health Organization later said the dog was "doing well" and hadn't developed any symptoms.