The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the first instance of a tiger testing positive for the new coronavirus.
The tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York was tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness, the USDA said in a release on Sunday.
“Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus,” the USDA said in a statement.
The Bronx Zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March. The first tiger to show symptoms was on March 27.
The USDA said, “All of these large cats are expected to recover. There is no evidence that other animals in other areas of the zoo are showing symptoms.”
“Anyone sick with COVID-19 should restrict contact with animals, out of an abundance of caution including pets, during their illness, just as they would with other people,” the USDA’s statement said. “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 USDA added that if a sick person must care for a pet, they should wash their hands before and after an interaction.