April 6, 2020
On March 27, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo outside of NYC began showing symptoms of the coronavirus after coming in contact with an asymptomatic infected employee. The tiger was later officially diagnosed and became the first and only case of the coronavirus found in an animal in the US. While the infection was unexpected, officials are hopeful that the tiger, named Nadia, will recover soon and that this particular case within an animal will benefit researcher’s race for coronavirus vaccine. Director of the Bronx Zoo, Jim Breheny said in an interview, “Any kind of knowledge that we get on how it’s transmitted, how different species react to it, that knowledge somehow is going to provide a greater base resource for people.” There is currently no evidence that shows animals can spread the virus to humans, according to Dr. Jane Rooney, a USDA official. In Hong Kong, officials found that the virus could be spread to animals in close contact with humans, but not the reverse. The outbreak we see currently is fueled by human to human contact and should therefore be limited.