In what appears to be the first documented case of a coronavirus infection in an animal in the United States, a tiger at NYC's Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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According to a press release from the Bronx Zoo, a four-year-old female Malayan tiger named Nadia was tested for COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution and an attempt to help the world understand more about the virus after developing a dry cough. Six other tigers and lions have become sick, and it's believed that they were infected by a Bronx Zoo employee who was caring for them before that person developed any symptoms.

One male Amur tiger that also lives in the same Tiger Mountain exhibit, has not shown any symptoms, and a Malayan tiger and two Amur tigers at the zoo’s Wild Asia exhibit have also not exhibited any clinical signs.

While the first infection of an animal raises new questions about how the virus is spread, experts say that there is no evidence to suggest that people can catch the virus from an animal.

“It’s important to assure pet owners and animal owners that at this time there isn’t any evidence that they can spread the virus,” said Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and a USDA official.

While other animals have tested positive elsewhere on the globe, including a dog in Hong Kong in February and early March. Authorities in Hong Kong asserted that the pathogen could not be passed from cats and dogs to humans.

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