Washington, December 12: Three snow leopards, positive for Covid-19 in the United States, were announced 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 of the three big cats after they showed signs of respiratory disease, the Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services Laboratories said in a statement.
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All three have shown mild symptoms and are being closely monitored, but full recovery is expected, the Louisville Zoo said in a statement. No other animals showed symptoms, the zoological authorities added.
The cats were likely infected by an asymptomatic member of staff, 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 exposure is closed while the cats recover.