Animals

US: 8 big cats test positive for COVID-19 at St. Louis Zoo, World News

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After 13 gorillas were found infected with the COVID-19 virus at the Atlanta Zoo, another such case emerged, as eight large cats were tested for the deadly virus at another US zoo.

At the St. Louis Zoo, two African lions, snow leopards, a jaguar, an Amur tiger and a puma have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to local media.

The zoo said all of the infected animals showed mild symptoms, although some had a cough and nasal discharge. Most of the affected cats did not show signs of illness, but a few had a lack of appetite and were less active for short periods of time.

“As in the case of humans, we expect that full protection against this virus will not be developed until a few weeks after the second injection in a series,” Dr. Satya Chinadurai, director of animal health at the zoo, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Read also | Now, COVID-19 is spreading to gorillas in a US zoo where 13 monkeys have tested positive

The local newspaper reported that the outbreak was limited to big cats, as one of the other 12,000 animals in the zoo tested positive.

Staff still have to trace the source of infection among cats. It is worth noting that all employees of the zoo have been fully vaccinated.

Zoo officials said all cats received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine designed specifically for animals. The two doses were given over a roughly three-week period beginning on September 30, but cats are likely to be exposed between doses.

Read also | Report says first dog tested positive for coronavirus in US dies

As of Thursday, at least 50 animals have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, while an additional 42 have received a single dose.

Zoo Atlanta in the US said that in September, at least 13 western lowland gorillas appeared to have tested positive for COVID-19. It includes the 60-year-old Ozzie, the oldest male gorilla in captivity.

Similarly in the UK, a pet dog tested positive for Covid on Friday. A pet recovering at home is said to have contracted the virus from its owner.

(with input from agencies)

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