Three snow leopards recently died from Covid-19 complications at the Nebraska Zoo in Lincoln, Nebraska.
That's according to an article in Medscape, and confirmed by the zoo on its Facebook page.
The mountain cats tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-October, according to reports. Zoo staff had been treating the leopards with steroids and antibiotics for the past month, according to The New York Times .
Zoo officials wrote on their Facebook page: "This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together."
Two Sumatran tigers also tested positive for Covid in October, but made a "seemingly full recovery," according to the zoo's statement.
The staff did not say whether the animals had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
This summer, some zoo animals in the U.S. were immunized with an experimental Covid-19 vaccine created by the Zoetis veterinary pharmaceutical company, the New York Times reported.
Throughout the US, several zoos, including the Denver Zoo, have reported Covid cases among animals. In Denver, officials reported just last week that there were cases among two spotted hyenas.
The Denver Zoo also reported 11 lions and two tigers tested positive for Covid-19, but have either recovered or are in the process of recovering.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not rule out that animals may be transmitting Covid-19 to people. On its website, the agency says it doesn't know too much about Covid transmission between animals and people, though it would seem to be a very critical area to study and learn more about.
According to CDC:
- "Based on the available information to date, the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people is considered to be low.
- We are still learning about this virus, but we know that it can spread from people to animals in some situations, especially during close contact.
- More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.
- People with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife."
Also, according to CDC:
"Based on the available information to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people. More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by SARS-CoV-2.
Some coronaviruses that infect animals can be spread to people and then spread between people, but this is rare. This is what happened with SARS-CoV-2, which likely originated in bats."
It should be noted that many scientists and authorities dispute the final statement made above by CDC, that Covid-19 or "SARS-CoV-2" "likely originated in bats."