In a released statement, the zoo said it's possible transmission was done by an asymptomatic carrier, though all their staff are supposed to be masked, vaccinations are not as yet required. A vaccine has been developed for animals, made by a company called Zoetis, and is composed in a similar way to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Mostly it's been used for primates, cats, and weasels. It wasn't mentioned if the big cats had been vaccinated or not.
WASHINGTON — Several Smithsonian National Zoo big cats have tested presumptive positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, zoo officials reported Friday.
Six African lions, a Sumatran tiger and two Amur tigers have tested presumptive positive, according to zoo officials. Final testing results are expected in the next few days.
Last weekend, animal keepers observed decreased appetites, coughing, sneezing and lethargy in several lions and tigers. All lions and tigers are being treated with anti-inflammatories and anti-nausea medication to address discomfort and decreased appetite. In addition, all are being treated with antibiotics for presumptive secondary bacterial pneumonia.
No animals at the zoo are showing any signs of infection.
The zoo said the public is not at risk because of the substantial distance between animals and visitors.
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