A Louisville Zoo snow leopard has tested positive for the coronavirus that causes humans to have COVID-19, and two others could also be infected. Neecee, a 5-year-old snow leopard, was checked and they revealed it when the zoo learned the findings on Friday.
The two extra snow leopards have also been checked and both of those cats are awaiting the results from the zoo.
They are both males, and so far only mild symptoms have been encountered by the cats along with the positive event.
Over the last two weeks, the three snow leopards started to show mild respiratory symptoms, including sometimes dry cough or wheeze. In spite of precautions by the Zoo, it is believed that NeeCee acquired the infection from an asymptomatic staff member.
According to senior staff veterinarian Zoli Gyimesi, snow leopards are confirmed to be not lethargic, and do not miss a meal.” Both workers working directly with the animals are decked out in PPE (personal protective equipment) and are subject to regular temperature tests and a variety of questions.”
“We keep taking these precautions and doing everything we can to keep our guests and animals safe,” said John Walczak, director of the zoo.
These steps applied to the use of improved personal protective equipment, including face shields, disposable coveralls, and the use of baths for disinfection.
Zoo authorities have said that the latest available evidence shows that there is a low chance of infected animals spreading the virus to humans. The snow leopards have been isolated as of now.
Although NeeCee recovers, the animals have been taken out of the exhibit and before the others get their tests back. Also infected with the virus were domestic cats, dogs and mink.
Minks are the only animals that have become critically ill so far, and are also the only animals that are able to spread the virus back to humans. So far no reports of cats or dogs passing the virus on to humans have been identified.