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Eight Lions Of NZP Contract Covid-19

Eight Asiatic lions housed in Hyderabad's NZP have recently tested positive for Covid-19.
Hyderabad | 4th May 2021
Eight Asiatic lions housed in Hyderabad's Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), one of the biggest zoos in Asia, have contracted Covid-19. Reports suggest that this may be the first known case of humans infecting felines.

The big cats exhibited signs of respiratory distress on April 24. After this, the veterinary team of the NZP collected oral discharge swabs and the samples were sent to the CCMB-LaCONES for diagnosis.

Based on detailed diagnostic tests and reports shared by the CCMB-LaCONES on May 4, the zoo authorities confirmed that the lions had been infected by the SARS-CoV2 virus. The lab has however said that it will take a few more days to confirm, through genome sequencing, whether humans were indeed the cause of the infection in the eight lions.

Zoo officials said that further analyses of the samples had revealed that the infection was not caused by any fatal variant of Covid-19.

The affected lions have been isolated and due care and necessary treatment is being provided to them by the zoo's veterinary team. Reports say that the creatures are responding well to the treatment and recuperating fast. They are now active and eating well.

Although experience with zoo animals elsewhere in the world that had contracted Covid-19 last year provides no factual basis to suggest that animals can transmit the disease to humans, the lion keepers have been provided with PPE kits. The moats around the lion enclosure are also being sanitised regularly.

Further, other preventive measures have already been taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from the public and the zoo staff to the NZP's 1,500 plus inmates. As part of this, a special drive was conducted in the first week of April to vaccinate all the staff - 95% of the workers have already been vaccinated. A few of the staff members, who tested positive, have been asked to remain in isolation.

On the recommendation of the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi, the zoo has also been closed to visitors since May 2 to protect the animals from external contact.

Since the situation seems to be under control, NZP officials appealed to the media to provide responsible coverage of the incident.
filed in:  Telangana, Hyderabad, Nehru Zoological Park, Coronavirus, Health, Health Care, Epidemics, Animals
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