The world’s first confirmed case of Covid 19 in a non domesticated animal


This is Nadia, the four-year-old female tiger who became the world’s first confirmed case of covid19 in a non domesticated animal, on the first Sunday of April 2020, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in New York, announced that the Malayan Tiger had tested positive for the virus, three more Tigers and three lions exhibited similar symptoms, and are believed to have the corona virus as well.

New York is currently facing a massive outbreak of the virus, over the past month it has spread rapidly throughout the state, especially in New York City which has more than a hundred and ten thousand cases, that’s more than half of all the confirmed cases in the state.

Zoo officials believe that the animals might have been infected by a caretaker who had the virus but didn’t show any symptoms.

Just a few days after the zoo made its announcement, researchers in China released the results of a new study which suggests that cats can catch the corona virus, the study aimed to identify which animals medical researchers can work with, to develop and test vaccines, the researchers say, that cats showed a high susceptibility to SARS coronavirus 2. Ferrets were also found to be highly susceptible to the virus, but dogs showed a low susceptibility, and chickens pigs and ducks couldn’t be infected at all.

Let’s try to make the significant difference between real-life conditions and trials in a laboratory, even clear. Normal conditions mean that an animal could catch the virus if it picked up droplets from a person with covid19, or from a contaminated surface and got them in its nose mouth or eyes.

Experimental conditions like the ones used in the Chinese study, mean that a high dose of covid19 is administered to the animal by injecting it directly into its nose.

In the world outside the laboratory, it’s much less likely that animals will catch the virus, but if the disease is transmitted, cats are more likely to get infected than some other animals.

The study also found that cats can spread the virus to other cats, but once again other scientists point out that the results don’t necessarily represent interactions between animals in real life, cat owners shouldn’t be alarmed there’s no evidence that pets or other animals can infect humans with covid19, beyond the initial transmission at the Wuhan Huanan wet market.

If you own a pet and you test positive for the virus or start showing symptoms, the recommendation is to limit contact with your pet.

first: if you have another member of your household care for your animal while you are sick.

Second: avoid any contact with your pet, like stroking, being licked or kissed and sharing food  or sleeping in the same bed.

third: if you’ve to be around animals or you need to care for your pet, while you’re sick, wash your hands before, and after you interact with them.

All confirmed cases of coronavirus and animals showed a very mild version of the disease, fortunately the big cats in New York’s Bronx Zoo are all on their way to recovery, but what about big cats in the wild, if the virus is able to infect cats, are there legitimate concerns for the tigers and lions whose populations have already been decreasing for years due to hunting poaching and habitat loss.

Looking at all the facts, we don’t need to worry that covid19 will harm cats directly, whether they’re big or small domesticated or wild, and there’s no reason for humans to fear for the health of their pets or worried about being infected by them, but whether we’re talking about contact with humans or animals, maintaining an appropriate distance makes all the difference.