NEW YORK CITY -- Weeks after a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for COVID-19, officials have announced that four more tigers and three lions have also tested positive for the disease.
Officials said they noticed other animals were showing similar symptoms as Nadia the 4-year-old female Malayan tiger.
Samples were collected from her nose, throat and respiratory tract while she was under anesthesia.
Zoo officials say three other tigers in the Tiger Mountain and three African lions that exhibited a cough also tested positive for COVID-19. That testing was done by using a fecal sample so the animals did not have to be put under anesthesia.
The fecal tests confirmed the six other cats did have the virus as well as an additional tiger at Tiger Mountain that never developed a cough.
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All eight cats are doing well and zoo officials say they are behaving normally, eating well and their coughs have greatly reduced.
"We tested the tigers and lions out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world's continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus," officials said. "The testing of these cats was done in veterinary laboratories and resources used did not take from those being used for human testing."
It is still believed the animals were infected by a staff member who was either asymptomatically infected or had contact with the animals before developing symptoms.
None of the zoo's snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma or serval are showing any signs of illness
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