Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Tiger euthanised in Covid-19 outbreak at Swedish zoo

Three gorillas at a California zoo are recovering from the virus in what experts believe is the first known case of transmission to primates.

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A tiger, two lions and a member of staff at a zoo in Sweden tested positive for Covid-19, the country’s National Veterinary Institute (SVA) has said.

The female tiger was euthanised on Jan 11 “for animal welfare reasons due to severe respiratory and neurological symptoms” after its condition deteriorated rapidly over a couple of days, the institute said, adding that at 17 she was an older animal with poor prospects of recovery.

Samples from the animal were then tested for Covid-19, with positive results confirmed by the SVA.

One member of staff caring for animals at the unidentified zoo tested positive for the virus, while three others who also showed symptoms are awaiting their test results.

Two Covid-19 cases were also confirmed in an enclosure of four lions that showed “mild respiratory symptoms,” following an analysis of fecal samples.

The disclosures came in an email sent by Sweden’s state epizootiologist, Karl Stahl, on Sunday and published by infectious disease monitoring service ProMED on Monday.

The SVA’s autopsy of the tiger on Jan 16 indicated the animal was likely asymptomatic for Covid, although the full results are still pending.

A male tiger in the same enclosure as the female also showed “moderate respiratory symptoms”.

The zoo is closed for the season and the on-site vet has introduced “internal biosafety measures,” Stahl said in his email.

Other animals have also contracted the virus around the world, including mink in Denmark, dogs in Canada and a cat in the UK.

Three gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are recovering from the virus in what experts believe is the first known case of transmission to primates, reports City News Service.

They had tested positive on Jan 11, but zoo veterinarians reported on Monday that the entire eight-member troop is now eating, drinking, interacting and on the way to a full recovery thanks to professional wildlife care teams.

A zoo statement read: “In addition to providing the best care possible for the gorilla troop, our teams could contribute to a deeper understanding of the impacts of this virus on animals and people worldwide.”

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