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This one’s bound to attract a lot of attention, and that can be both good and bad. A tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The tiger was sick (cough, decreased appetite) and was presumed to have been infected by a caretaker who was infected but asymptomatic. Three other tigers and three African lions also had a dry cough, but only one tiger was tested because sample collection in these animals requires general anesthesia. All the affected big cats are expected to recover. The zoo has been closed to the public since March 16, but the first signs of illness weren’t seen until March 27.
On one hand, it’s not too surprising. If domestic cats are susceptible, wild cats should be too. On the other, there are some noteworthy aspects:
As always, don’t over-react. This just reinforces the message I’ve been saying since the January (which, despite all our talk about “One Health” led to a lot of criticism): We need to consider and investigate the potential animal aspects of this disease, such as human-to-pet transmission, in order to help prevent pets from contributing to human disease, and to help avoid creating a (domestic) animal reservoir for this virus. This is still a very much a predominantly human disease, but we can’t completely ignore the role of animals even if it’s small. We can use simple, practical and basically free measures to reduce the presumably low risks to and from animals, and we should:
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