PITTSBURGH — Two tigers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, according to the zoo.
According to a press release, the tigers began showing signs including occasional coughing and loose stool but have otherwise been in good condition.
The initial results came from a rapid antigen test and was later confirmed by voluntary nasal swabs gathered from the cats. PCR testing of fecal matter has also been submitted for analysis.
Animal care staff continue to provide supportive care to the tigers; the felines are eating normally and are expected to make a full recovery.
“We are taking this situation seriously and are continuing to provide the best care possible to our tigers,” said Dr. Jeremy Goodman, president and CEO in the press release. “We do not allow any of our visitors to come within close proximity to any of our cats, so the risk of transmission to our guests is very low.”
The infected tigers likely contracted the virus after exposure to an asymptomatic zoo employee.
At this time, limited quantities of vaccination have been made available for animals in human care and the Pittsburgh Zoo is currently on the waiting list for the preventative treatment.
In April of this year, two female lions tested positive for COVID-19 and made a full recovery. There has been no evidence that wild or domestic cats have played a significant role in spreading the virus to humans in the U.S., nor have there been any domestic fatalities of tigers who have contracted the virus, according to the release.