(CNN) – Animal keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, are keeping a close watch on their lions and tigers after the big cats test positive for COVID-19.
Six African lions, a Sumatran tiger and two Amur tigers are being treated with anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea medication to relieve their discomfort and loss of appetite, the zoo said in a press release. They are also given antibiotics to treat suspected secondary bacterial pneumonia.
Several lions and tigers exhibited symptoms over the past weekend, including decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing and lethargy, the statement said.
Fecal samples from the lions and tigers were tested and returned with presumptive positive results. Final results are expected in the coming days, the zoo said.
The zoo will remain open and lions and tigers will be able to come out to their outdoor habitats.
“Given the large distance between animals and visitors, the public is not in danger,” the statement said.
The zoo said no other animals showed signs of infection.
““The zoo has conducted a thorough investigation of all personnel who were in the vicinity of the lions and tigers. There is no evidence to identify the source of the infection,” the statement said. “While it is possible that the infection was transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier, it is standard practice for all animal care and essential personnel to mask themselves indoors in all public spaces and not public. “
Sumatran tigers are listed as Critically Endangered, with a population of less than 400, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Amur tigers are classified as endangered and African lions are vulnerable on the IUCN red list.
Last week, a group of lowland gorillas at the Atlanta Zoo tested positive for COVID-19, zoo officials said. Only two of the 20 gorillas are still symptomatic, the zoo said in a statement on Friday.
The US Department of Agriculture has cleared a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for zoo animals, and the National Zoo has said it will administer it to susceptible animals once it becomes available.
The Atlanta Zoo said it vaccinated its orangutans, lions, tigers and clouded leopard.
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