Coronavirus pandemic has affected human beings all around the globe considerably. But it seems now that this novel virus has the ability to infect certain animals as well. The reassurances of the scientists that the virus is not dangerous for animals by keeping dogs as specimen animals seem false at this point. Because as of now, reports suggest that a Malayan tiger, 4 years old Nadia has been tested positive for COVID-19 at Bronx Zoo in the US.
World’s First COVID-19 Tiger-Infection
Veterinary doctors have confirmed that the Malayan tiger has contracted coronavirus allegedly after its interaction with some zookeeper having asymptomatic form of the COVID-19. Along with Nadia, six other big cats are suspected to have been infected by the virus as they are also showing symptoms. The other six tigers have not been tested for the virus yet, as the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has recommended not to opt routine testing of the animals or of the zookeepers. This is one of the first reported tiger-infection case related to coronavirus pandemic.
A 4-year-old Malayan tiger has tested positive for the coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo, federal officials and the zoo said. The case is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S., or a tiger anywhere. https://t.co/TuDJbdv0ZA
— AP Eastern US (@APEastRegion) April 5, 2020
It was however to the great surprise of Paul Calle, the chief veterinary doctor at the zoo, as this is the first time the world has seen a wild animal being infected by the virus with human beings as the mode of transmission. He has addressed the scientific community as many questions remain answered about the extent of the virus spread in animals.
recently, malayan tiger in the bronx zoo was tested positive for COVID-19.
these are the answers to ur questions provided by dr. abdul rahman omar who is the dean faculty of veterinary medicine from UPM. pic.twitter.com/DifK8pwPLC
— aidil (@pulasantanah) April 6, 2020
Experts have stressed over the fact that in the past, examples have been seen where different animals were infected with SARS-CoV-2 but they did not transmit the virus to other animals in any way. The infected tigers are expected to recover in the coming weeks.
To the zookeepers, this is all extremely mind-boggling. Majority of the questions remain unanswered because of the novelty of the virus in animals. Scientists are yet to discover the mechanism of how the virus works and how it is transmitted to animals. They have to figure out if this new strain of infection can spread from one animal to another animal or not. And unlike other viral strains, how this new coronavirus is able to transmit itself from a human being to a wild animal. With the identification of infection in Nadia, the Malayan tiger, it seems that a section of scientific community will open new gates of research in the field of animal virology.
After this incident, zookeepers around the world have started taking extra precaution towards animals that are more prone to get infected. As a study suggests, apes are extremely likely to contract this new coronavirus as in the past most of the virus families have been found to infect humans, apes and monkeys alike to a great extent.
The Bronx Zoo team has committed to the scientific community for complete cooperation and sharing of details. They will be providing all the latest and accurate data, bio-statistics and a constant update on the health conditions of the animals infected by the novel virus. The management has also urged USDA to allow them to conduct COVID-19 tests among the zookeepers as to identify the potential threat to animals lingering in the zoo.