The covid-19 pandemic has hit full force at one zoo in Washington D.C. According to a news release from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the big cats were tested after exhibiting signs of illness.
The release explains what symptoms were observed in the cats:
Last weekend, animal keepers observehd decreased appetites, coughing, sneezing and lethargy in several lions and tigers. Fecal samples for all great cats were collected and tested presumptive positive. Final results are expected in the next few days.
The lions and tigers are being treated with medication to help manage their symptoms, and prevent secondary bacterial infections. The zoo has stated the public is not at risk of contracting the virus from the big cats, and no other animals at the zoo are showing signs of sickness.
The release indicates that the source of the infection remains unknown:
The Zoo has conducted a thorough investigation of all staff that were in close proximity to the lions and tigers. There is no evidence to pinpoint the source of the infection. While it is possible the infection was transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier, it has been standard practice for all animal care staff and essential staff to mask indoors in all public and non-public areas. The health and vaccination status of employees is confidential medical information.
Meanwhile, 13 gorillas at the Zoo Atlanta are sick with covid-19. Officials believe that the primates were infected by a fully vaccinated member of the animal care team.
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