Officials at the Louisville Zoo said a snow leopard tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in humans ― and two others may also be infected.
The zoo announced Friday that NeeCee, a 5-year-old female snow leopard, tested positive for the coronavirus, officially designated SARS-CoV-2.
The zoo is awaiting test results for two other snow leopards ― both male ― but all three cats are experiencing only mild symptoms so far, according to a news release.
“The three snow leopards began exhibiting minor respiratory symptoms, including an occasional dry cough or wheeze, within the last two weeks. It is suspected that NeeCee acquired the infection from an asymptomatic staff member, despite precautions by the Zoo.”
All three snow leopards are “not lethargic, and they don’t miss a meal,” senior staff veterinarian Zoli Gyimesi told the Courier-Journal.
Staffers working with animals are wearing personal protective equipment, undergo temperature checks and a answer a series of questions daily, the zoo said.
“We continue to take these precautions and do everything that we can to keep our guests and animals safe,” zoo Director John Walczak told the paper.
That included wearing enhanced personal protective equipment such as face shields and disposable coveralls and using disinfecting foot baths.
Zoo officials said the most current information available suggested that the risk of infected animals spreading the virus to humans is low, according to local CBS affiliate WLKY.
The zoo has removed all three animals from exhibit until NeeCee recovers and the other animals get their test results, WDRB reported.
The zoo offered more information in the video below.
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