Six lions and three tigers at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., have tested positive for COVID-19, the zoo announced Friday. Zookeepers first noticed changes in the cats’ behaviors last weekend, including decreased appetites and allergy-like symptoms. Through the use of fecal matter, officials were able to test the animals for the virus, obtaining preliminary positive results. Officials have not been able to determine the source of the outbreak, nor has it identified any cases among zoo employees. “While it is possible the infection was transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier, it has been standard practice for all animal care staff and essential staff to mask indoors in all public and non-public areas,” the zoo said in a statement. “The health and vaccination status of employees is confidential medical information.”
The news comes a day after at least 10 animals at the Philadelphia Zoo have been vaccinated for COVID-19, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday, with 113 animals expected to be vaccinated in the coming weeks.