The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) announced recently the confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in a Canada lynx at a zoo in Pennsylvania.
The lynx, at the Pittsburgh Zoo, is the first Canada lynx confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the United States.
The cat began displaying clinical signs including occasional coughing, but overall symptoms have been mild.
SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in several 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.
PCR tests have also been done for four other lynxes and the zoo is waiting on those results.
Earlier this month, two tigers at the zoo tested positive for COVID and have since made a full recovery. The lynxes are next to the tigers, and while the zoo said they began exhibiting symptoms, later on, they were likely exposed to the virus in a similar window of time. The zoo believed an asymptomatic employee infected the tigers.
In April, two of the zoo’s lionesses tested positive for the virus and have also since fully recovered.
People with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals during close contact. It is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection.
Based on the information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to below.