Tiger at Zoo Knoxville tests positive for coronavirus

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Bashir (Courtesy: Zoo Knoxville)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Malayan tiger at Zoo Knoxville has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, while two other tigers are also presumed positive, a zoo spokesperson said Friday.

A statement from Zoo Knoxville explained Bashir, an 11-year-old male, was one of three tigers at the zoo that experienced mild coughing, lethargy and a decrease in appetite.

All three tigers were tested for a range of potential causes and Bashir was confirmed as positive for SARS-CoV-2 by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, the zoo stated.

Confirmatory testing is in progress on the other two tigers, 6-year-old Arya and 11-year-old Tanvir, but the zoo said both are presumed positive.

Zoo Knoxville said it will work with state and local animal and human health agencies to determine the source of the infection, which at this time is suspected to be an asymptomatically infected staff member working in close proximity to the tigers when caring for them.

No other animals at Zoo Knoxville have shown signs of illness, according to the zoo.

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