Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, is believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, raising new questions about transmission of the virus in animals.

One of the Bronx Zoo's Malayan tigers.
One of the Bronx Zoo's Malayan tigers. (Getty Images)

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the US or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said.

The 4-year-old Malayan tiger, Nadia and six other tigers and lions who have also fallen ill, are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Sunday.

The first animal started showing symptoms March 27, and all are expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16.

The finding raises new questions about transmission of the virus in animals.

The USDA said there has been no known cases of the virus in US pets or livestock.

The coronavirus outbreaks around the world are driven by person-to-person transmission, experts say.

There have been reports of a small number of pets outside the United States becoming infected after close contact with contagious people, including a dog in Hong Kong that tested positive for a low level of the pathogen in February and early March.

Hong Kong agriculture authorities concluded that pet dogs and cats couldn’t pass the virus to human beings but could test positive if exposed by their owners.

Source: AP