By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The San Diego Zoo reported Friday that a male snow leopard is suspected to be positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The big cat had symptoms of cough and nasal discharge.

Image by luxstorm from Pixabay

The snow leopard tested positive for the virus in fecal samples. This was confirmed by the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS). Testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is still pending.

Zoo officials say the snow leopard is doing well other than the symptoms described above. He shares his habitat with a female snow leopard and two Amur leopards which are assumed exposed and currently quarantined.

It is not yet known how the male snow leopard acquired the infection. Zoo employees have strict biosecurity protocols in place to include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and disinfection protocols, quarantine procedures for new arrivals and preventive medicine practices, such as vaccination.

“While we await the results of tests to determine if the snow leopard is positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, we can assure you the snow leopard and the Amur leopards who share his habitat are receiving excellent care,” said Scott. “Our veterinary teams and wildlife care specialists at both the Zoo and Safari Park are highly skilled, dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to ensure the well-being of the wildlife in our care.”

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