2 vaccinated tigers at ZooTampa test positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus

Courtesy: ZooTampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Malayan tigers at ZooTampa have tested positives for SARS-CoV-2, the zoo announced Thursday.

In a statement, ZooTampa said the medical care team tested the 16-year-old and 7-year-old tigers after they showed mild respiratory symptoms.

Nasal swabs and fecal samples from the animals were sent out with approval from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

“At this point, we are unsure how the vaccinated animals got the virus, but we have seen instances around the world where the virus has been transmitted from humans to big cats and primates even with strict biosecurity protocols in place,” stated Senior Vice President of Animal Health, Conservation and Education Dr. Cynthia Stringfield. 

The tigers are being treated and monitored around the clock.

They will remain from public view and in their night quarters until further notice.

ZooTampa is also testing its orangutans out of caution.

The diagnosis has been reported to the US Department of Agriculture.

ZooTampa began vaccinating animals most susceptible to COVID-19 in October.

“We are always monitoring susceptible species and will continue to review our protocols which follow the latest scientific data and government recommendations,” added Stringfield. “The safety of our team, the animals entrusted to our care and guests remains our number one priority.”    

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