Washington, December 12: Three snow leopards have given positive results for Covid-19 in the US, officials announced on Friday. Of the three, one of the animals belonged to the Kentucky Zoo, while the other two belonged to the Louisville Zoo.
Snow leopards are now the sixth animal species confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Officials took samples from the three large cats after showing signs of respiratory disease, the Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories said in a statement.
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All three showed mild symptoms and are being closely monitored, but are expected to fully recover, Louisville Zoo said in a statement. No other animals showed symptoms, the zoo authorities added.
The cats were likely infected by an asymptomatic staff member, despite precautions that included caregivers wearing personal protective equipment, officials said.
The zoo said the risk of infected animals spreading the virus to humans is considered low and the zoo remains open, although the snow leopard’s exposure is closed while cats recover.