A Tiger tests positive of COVID-19 in the US: Zoos on high alert in the country
On April 6, 2020, the Central Zoo Authority of the United States asked all the zoos to stay on high alert after a tiger tested positive of COVID-19. This is the first time COVID-19 infections are reported on an animal.
A four-year-old Malayan tiger in the Bronx Zoo of New York has tested positive of Corona Virus. It is still not known how the disease will develop in cats. This is because different species behave differently. Till date there is no evidence that animals play a major role in COVID-19 transmission. Also, there is no evidence that a human can be infected by the virus from animals.
COVID-19 not air borne
There are no findings till date how the virus transmits between animals and humans. Indian Council of Medical Research has confirmed that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is air borne disease. There are evidences that it spreads only through droplets. The virus spreads through two different types of droplets namely respiratory droplets and droplet nuclei. When the droplets are 5-10 μm in diameter they are called respiratory droplets. When the droplets are less than 5μm in diameter they are called droplet nuclei.
Malayan Tigers or the Southern Indochinese Tiger is a type of tiger sub-species native to Peninsular Malaysia. It is classified as a critically endangered species by IUCN. They are threatened by habitat loss/ fragmentation, poaching, illegal trade for traditional medicine, etc.
Cats are affected by a specific class of coronavirus called the feline coronavirus. Unlike the SARS CoV 2, feline coronaviruses are transmitted through faecal- oral route. These viruses affect the intestine or peritoneum of cats.