By Matthew Roscoe • 20 January 2022 • 16:16
THREE lions and two pumas tested positive for Covid, according to a recent study in South Africa. The study showed that the virus was transmitted to the animals by zookeepers, some of whom were asymptomatic.
According to the study, the lions had shown respiratory problems, runny noses, and a dry cough at an unnamed private zoo in Johannesburg which sparked researchers from the University of Pretoria to investigate.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that all three lions were infected with the Delta variant. One of the three developed pneumonia while the other two recovered after experiencing milder symptoms.
The research, titled SARS-CoV-2 Reverse Zoonoses to Pumas and Lions, South Africa, said that the study was “important to assess the risk of subsequent transmission between animals and prolonged shedding that may give rise to new variants.”
“This data suggests that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating among staff during the time that the lions got sick and suggests that those with direct contact with the animals were likely responsible for the reverse zoonotic transmission,” said Marietjie Venter, a professor of virology at the university according to The Standard.
Overall, twelve staff members that had direct contact with the animals were also tested for Covid-19, and five tested positive.
Interestingly, a year earlier, two pumas that had exhibited signs of anorexia, diarrhoea and nasal discharge also tested positive for Covid.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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