DENVER (AP) – Two hyenas at the Denver Zoo have tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed cases among animals in the world, a national veterinary laboratory said on Friday.
Samples from a variety of animals at the zoo, including spotted hyenas, were tested after several lions at the facility fell ill, according to national veterinary service laboratories. The hyena samples tested positive in a Colorado State University lab, and the cases were confirmed by the national lab.
In addition to the two hyenas, 11 lions and two tigers at the zoo have tested positive for the virus.
“Hyenas are animals known to be resistant and resistant, known to be very tolerant of anthrax, rabies and distemper. They are otherwise in good health and should make a full recovery, ”the zoo said in a statement.
Zoo officials said the hyenas – Ngozi, 22, and Kibo, 23 – exhibited mild symptoms, including mild lethargy, runny nose and an occasional cough.
The other animals that tested positive in the past few weeks have either made a full recovery or are on the path to full recovery.
“We now know that many other species may be susceptible to COVID-19 based on multiple reports, and we continue to use the highest level of care and precaution when working with all of our 3,000 animals and 450 different species, “the statement said.
Infections have been reported in several species around the world, primarily in animals that have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, according to the US Department of Agriculture, which oversees NVSL. A press release issued on Friday said scientists were still learning about coronavirus infections in animals, but based on the information available, the risk of animals transmitting the virus to humans is low.
People with COVID-19 should avoid close contact with animals, including pets, to protect them from possible infection, according to the press release.
NVSL serves as an international reference laboratory, providing testing for foreign and emerging animal diseases, as well as advice on diagnostic techniques.