The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo has reported that Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for COVID-19 on April 5.
This is the first case in the USA of infection of Coronavirus on a non-human species.
She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover.
This positive COVID-19 test for the tiger was confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory, based in Ames, Iowa.
We tested the cat 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.
The tigers were tested due to a decrease in appetite. The cats are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers.
It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but the felines are expected to full recover from it.
Are we safe with our pets? Are our pets safe with us?
There is no evidence that animals play a role in the transmission of COVID-19 to people other than the initial event in the Wuhan market where it is believed the virus was first transferred to people at a food market. There is also no evidence that any person has been infected with COVID-19 in the US by animals, including by pet dogs or cats.
However, here the question we must find an answer for: how can a tiger get infected with the Coronavirus? It is hard to believe anyone has been closer than 6 feet from the feline! As such, there should be another mechanism of infection in place, which can be the answer to why the curve of infections worldwide is continuously stiffing.
Some other important questions are now over the table, such as:
“Can this virus mutate and jump back from an animal to humans?“
“Can the lethality of the virus become higher is such a case?“
“What are the possibilities to use the learning from the immune system of the tigers to find a vaccine or a treatment suitable to humans?“
And, the most important question of all:
“As no one has ever found the real connection of the Coronavirus with bats and snakes in Asia, could it have actually begun from the Asian tigers? Could it be the missing link that will answer so many other questions we have?“
Be sure those inquiries – and many others – will rise, and with it a lot of crap will also be produced before any real answers come along. Stay put, but stay smart!