The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) recently announced confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in a coatimundi at a zoo in Illinois.
This is the first coatimundi confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the United States.
Samples from a variety of species at the zoo, including the coatimundi, were collected and tested after a tiger at the facility showed signs of the virus.
Samples from the coatimundi tested presumptive positive at the University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the case was confirmed at NVSL. NVSL serves as an international reference laboratory and provides expertise and guidance on diagnostic techniques, as well as confirmatory testing for foreign and emerging animal diseases. Such testing is required for certain animal diseases in the United States in order to comply with national and international reporting procedures. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) considers SARS-CoV-2 an emerging disease, and therefore USDA must report confirmed U.S. animal infections to the OIE.
SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in a small number of animal species worldwide, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person with COVID-19. At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.