"Veterinarians, farmers, and zookeepers could help prevent the next pandemic, but their expertise has been overlooked."
"Nadia began coughing on March 27. The 4-year-old Malayan tiger’s keepers at the Bronx Zoo in New York City also noticed she wasn’t finishing her daily allotment of raw meat. Concerned, they called in Paul Calle, the zoo’s head veterinarian.
The team immobilized and anesthetized Nadia, so she could be put through a series of X-rays, ultrasounds, and routine blood work to look for known causes of respiratory disease in cats. “Since New York City is the epicenter for Covid in the U.S.,” said Calle, “we wanted to make sure we checked her for that, too.”
On April 5, the zoo reported that Nadia had been infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Over the course of the next week, three other tigers and three lions at the zoo also began showing similar symptoms. The sick cats were later tested, along with another 8-year-old male Amur tiger named Alden, who hadn’t been showing any symptoms. Every test came back positive, according to a statement released by the zoo on April 22. All eight cats are now recovering well, and “only an occasional cough is heard,” Calle said.
Officials think that an asymptomatic zoo worker carrying the virus probably infected the animals. “People and animals and the environment are all closely linked and influence what happens to each other,” said Calle."