Washington, December 12: Three snow leopards tested positive for Covid-19 in the United States, officials announced on Friday. Of the three, one of the animals belonged to the Kentucky Zoo, while the other two belong to the Louisville Zoo.
Snow leopards are now the sixth animal species confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Officials took samples from the three big cats after they showed signs of respiratory disease, laboratories of the Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services said in a statement.
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All three have shown mild symptoms and are being monitored closely, but are expected to make a full recovery, the Louisville Zoo said in a statement. No other animals were showing symptoms, zoo authorities added.
The cats were likely infected by an asymptomatic staff member, despite precautions that included keepers 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 exhibit is closed as cats recover.