A number of lions from the Singapore Night Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19 after being exposed to infected employees. After 2 duty zookeepers from the Night Safari Carnivore section tested positive, one asymptomatic employee that has come in very close contact with the lions also tested positive and was relieved of his duties.
These endangered Asiatic lions exhibited symptoms of coronavirus including lethargy, coughing and sneezing, prompting them to also be isolated in their respective dens to avoid the spread to other animals or humans. The Singapore Night Zoo and the Singapore Zoo still remain open but have for now closed off the lion exhibits.
This is not the first case of animals and wildlife contracting Sars-Cov-2, or what we currently know as the coronavirus. If you have a pet dog or cat you might have seen coronavirus as one of the vaccines that your pets need. The coronavirus your pets need to get vaccinated against, however, it is not the same as the one infecting humans.
Image source: wikipedia.com
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been a lot of sporadic and isolated cases where animals had also contracted Sars-Cov-2. The CDC confirmed that pets like dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters, along with livestock such as pigs and minks can be infected with the virus through recent experiments. For example, tigers in Denver Zoo have contracted coronavirus in October 2021. Along with an increase of respiratory diseases and deaths have affected mink farms all over the US and Italy. A pet dog in the UK has recently tested positive for coronavirus making it their first confirmed case.
However, according to the CDC, animals still do not play a big role in the spread of Covid to humans. All the animals that have been infected have come into close contact with humans that have been infected. The findings from these small groups of animals still show no evidence that animals can spread the infection to humans, but they can spread the infection to other animals of the same species in laboratory settings.
The CDC recommends pet owners to have another family member take care of their pets while they’re sick, avoid contact with your pets especially after they’ve interacted with other animals or have been outside including petting, snuggling, kissing, getting locked, sharing food or even sharing a bed. If you are unable to have someone else care for your pet while you’re sick, the CDC recommends wearing a mask and also washing your hands before and after interacting with your pet to reduce transmission.