Eight Asiatic lions at a zoo in India’s Hyderabad have tested positive for Covid-19, in what appears to be the first such cases in India, reports The Hindu.
More than two dozen staffers at the zoo were also tested positive for the virus.
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) told the forest authorities of Nehru Zoological Park that the RT-PCR tests of the lions were positive.
“Yes, the lions were tested after displaying mild symptoms. As of now they are active and are doing well,” said an official, adding that four male and four female big lions were housed in the 40-acre Safari area.
Detailed investigation of the samples will be carried out for genome sequencing to find out if the strain came from human beings or not. The zoo authorities are likely to conduct a CT Scan of the lions to know the impact of the infection on their lungs.
On April 24, caretakers noticed that these big cats developed symptoms like dry cough, nasal discharge, and loss of appetite and soon alerted the veterinary team. Soon, the vets took oropharyngeal swab samples of the feline and sent them to CCMB, where the scientists are likely to do genome sequencing to find out if the strain came from human beings.
Nehru Zoological Park, one of the biggest zoos in Asia, is currently remains closed for visitors as a precautionary measure.