In a first test, 3 snow leopards test positive for Covid-19


oi-Deepika S


Published: Saturday, December 12, 2020, 9:26 p.m. [IST]

Washington, December 12: Three snow leopards tested positive for Covid-19 in the United States, authorities announced Friday. Of the three, one of the animals belonged to the Kentucky Zoo, while the other two belong to the Louisville Zoo.

Snow leopards are now the sixth confirmed animal species to have contracted the virus.

PTI file photo

Officials took samples from the three big cats after they showed signs of respiratory disease, the Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories said in a statement.

All three showed mild symptoms and are being closely monitored but are expected to make a full recovery, the Louisville Zoo said in a statement. No other animals showed symptoms, zoo officials added.

The cats were likely infected by an asymptomatic staff member, despite precautions that included keepers wearing personal protective equipment, authorities said.

The zoo said the risk of infected animals transmitting the virus to humans is considered low and the zoo remains open, although the snow leopard exhibit remains closed while the cats recover.

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