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Belgian zoo confirms that two hippos test positive for coronavirus in the first recorded case in the species

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Now HIPPOS get Covid: Belgian zoo confirms two creatures aged 14 and 41 test positive for coronavirus in first recorded case in the species

  • Hippos Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, have no symptoms except a runny nose
  • Antwerp Zoo said the couple had been quarantined as a precaution
  • None of the zookeepers showed any symptoms or tested positive for the virus










A Belgian zoo has confirmed that two hippos have tested positive for coronavirus in what may be the first reported cases in the species.

Hippos Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, have no symptoms other than a runny nose.

The Antwerp Zoo in Belgium said the couple had been quarantined as a precaution.

A Belgian zoo has confirmed that two hippos have tested positive for coronavirus in what may be the first reported cases in the species (stock image)

It’s unclear how the hippos contracted the virus, but staff tested the pair after “expelling snot.”

“As far as I know, this is the first time of this kind. Worldwide, this virus has mainly been reported in great apes and felines,’ says zoo veterinarian Francis Vercammen.

Antwerp Zoo is investigating the causes of the infection. None of the zookeepers had recently shown symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for the virus, the zoo said.

Hippos Imani, age 14, and Hermien, 41, have no symptoms except a runny nose (stock image)

Hippos Imani, age 14, and Hermien, 41, have no symptoms except a runny nose (stock image)

The coronavirus is thought to have jumped from an animal to a human and has been proven to have passed from human to animal.

Pets, including cats, dogs and ferrets, have become infected after contact with their owners, while cases have been reported in zoos in animals such as big cats, otters, primates and hyenas.

The disease has also spread to mink farms and to wild animals such as deer.

Animals and COVID-19

Recent experimental research shows that many mammals, including cats, dogs, voles, ferrets, fruit bats, hamsters, minks, pigs, rabbits, raccoon dogs, shrews and white-tailed deer, can be infected with the virus.

Cats, ferrets, fruit bats, hamsters, raccoon dogs and white-tailed deer can also spread the infection to other animals of the same species in laboratory settings.

A number of studies have examined non-human primates as models for human infection.

Rhesus monkeys, cynomolgus macaques, baboons, grivets and marmosets can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and become ill in a laboratory setting.

There are indications that laboratory mice, which could not be infected with original SARS-CoV-2 strains, can be infected with new virus variants.

Chickens and ducks do not appear to become infected or spread the infection based on results from studies.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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