Two cougars and three lions living in captivity at a zoo in South Africa were infected by Covid-19, with the virus being transmitted to animals, as everything shows, by asymptomatic staff members, according to a study published on Tuesday (01/18).
Human-to-animal transmission of the virus «is a danger to large captive catsWarns research conducted by the University of Pretoria.
Particularly because PCR tests showed the cats were positive for up to seven weeks after infection, indicating that the animals may have been infected with “a more serious form of the disease,” the report said.
When did the investigation start?
The investigation, according to the Athenian News Agency, began after three African lions were positively diagnosed in Covid-19 last year. They showed symptoms similar to those of humans: difficulty breathing, runny nose, cough. A lioness developed pneumonia.
Five zoo workers who came in contact with the animals were tested positive, suggesting that the source of the infection was humans.
The sequencing determined that it was the Delta variant, which was then dominant in South Africa.
One year earlier, two puma, who had symptoms of anorexia and suffered from diarrhea and runny nose, were also positive for Covid. They recovered within three weeks. In their case neither the source of the infection nor the variant were identified.