One tiger at a zoo in the United States has been diagnosed with the CCP Virus, raising the question—can animals catch the virus and give it back to humans.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed on Sunday, April 5, that a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for the CCP Virus, becoming the first instance of an animal being infected with the virus in the United States.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which manages the zoo, identified the tiger as Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger. She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions has developed a dry cough.
“Samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness,” the USDA said in a statement.
Public health officials believe these animals became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding the virus.
The Bronx Zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March, and the first tiger began showing signs of sickness on March 27.
The USDA said there is no evidence that other animals in other areas of the zoo are showing symptoms and expected all of these large cats would recover.
This case raises a question that if animals can catch the virus from a human, can they give it back to people?
According to the USDA, there is no evidence at this time to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread the CCP Virus infection to people.
However, the department urged that anyone sick with the virus should restrict contact with animals, out of an abundance of caution including pets, during their illness, just as they would with people.
“Although there have not been reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus,” the statement read.
The CCP Virus is a disease caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. Though the virus was reportedly first transferred to people in Wuhan, China, there is no evidence that animals play a role in the transmission of the CCP Virus to people other than the initial event in the Wuhan food market.
Before the United States, a dog in Hong Kong also tested positive for a low level of the CCP Virus in early March.