Covid: Two hyenas test positive for coronavirus at Denver Zoo

Ngozi, 22, and Kibo, 23—tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19
Ngozi, 22, and Kibo, 23—tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19

11 lions and two tigers at the zoo tested positive for the virus.

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Two hyenas at the Denver Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19, the first confirmed cases among the animals worldwide, a national veterinary laboratory has announced.

Samples from a variety of animals at the zoo, including the spotted hyenas, were tested after several lions at the facility became ill, according to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).

The hyena samples tested presumptively positive at a laboratory at Colorado State University, and the cases were confirmed by the national laboratory.

In addition to the two hyenas, 11 lions and two tigers at the zoo tested positive for the virus.

The zoo statement said: “Hyenas are famously tough, resilient animals that are known to be highly tolerant to anthrax, rabies and distemper. They are otherwise healthy and expected to make a full recovery.”

Zoo officials said the hyenas – 22-year-old Ngozi and 23-year-old Kibo – are experiencing mild symptoms, including slight lethargy, some nasal discharge and an occasional cough.

The other animals that tested positive in recent weeks have either fully recovered or are on the path to a full recovery.

The statement added: “We now know that many other species may be susceptible to Covid-19 based on multiple reports, and we continue to use the highest level of care and precaution when working with all of our 3,000 animals and 450 different species.”

Infections have been reported in multiple species worldwide, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person with Covid-19, according the the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the NVSL.