Two hippos at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium, have tested positive for COVID-19, what is believed to be the first reported case of infection in the species.
The two hippos, named Imani and Hermien, showed no signs of “other than a runny nose”, according to a news release from the zoo.
The release said how the animals were exposed to the virus is unknown – their caregivers did not show any symptoms of COVID-19 and all tested negative for the virus. , the statement said.
The zoo said Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, are currently under quarantine and cannot be seen by visitors.
The zoo’s veterinarian Francis Vercammen, who oversaw coronavirus testing, said: “To my knowledge, this is the first known in this species.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 infections have been reported around the world, including in big cats, primates, ferrets, and ferrets. Last month, three snow leopards at a Nebraska zoo died of complications from the virus.
Companion animals, especially cats and dogs, are the leading group of animals impacted by coronavirus. CDC officials have warned that while the risk of animal-to-human transmission is low, people can spread the coronavirus to pets.