After threatening the very existence of the human race, the dreaded coronavirus is now targeting the animal world.
According to a Reuters report, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City has tested positive for the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
This is the first known case of a human infecting an animal and making it sick, the zoo’s chief veterinarian was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Nadia, the four-year-old Malayan tiger that tested positive, was screened for the COVID-19 disease after developing a dry cough along with three other tigers and three lions, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, said in a statement.
All of the cats are expected to recover, it said.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have spread from animals to humans, and a handful of animals have tested positive in Hong Kong.
But officials believe this is a unique case because Nadia became sick after exposure to an asymptomatic zoo employee.
While the other tigers and lions were also exhibiting symptoms, the zoo decided to test only Nadia because she was the sickest and had started to lose her appetite, and they did not want to subject all the cats to anesthesia.
Nadia underwent X-rays, an ultrasound and blood tests to try to figure out what was ailing her.
They decided to test for COVID-19 given the surge in cases in New York City, the epicentre of the outbreak in the United States.
The first tiger at the zoo, which has been shut since mid-March, began showing signs of illness on March 27, according to the US Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories, which performed the test.