First animal in U.S. test positive for coronavirus after being infected by zoo employee

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A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S., according to federal officials.

The 4-year-old Malayan tiger, and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill, are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.  The first animal started showing symptoms March 27, and all are expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16.

We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and aim to contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus, Dr. Paul Calle, the zoo’s chief veterinarian said.

The USDA says there are no known cases of the virus in U.S. pets or livestock.

It’s important to assure pet owners and animal owners that at this time there isn’t any evidence that they can spread the virus, Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and USDA official said.

Researchers are trying to understand the susceptibility of different animal species to the virus and to determine how it spreads among animals. 

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