Sunday, 14th July 2024

Two hippos test positive for COVID-19 in Belgium's Antwerp Zoo

Covid-19 has been found in two hippos at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium, in what is believed to be the first such infection in the species so far.

Sunday, 7th July 2024

A hippo that has recently tested positive for COVID-19 is seen at Antwerp Zoo, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in this handout photo dated Summer 2021. Antwerp ZOO Society/Jonas Verhulst/Handout via REUTERS

Belgium: Covid-19 has been found in two hippos at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium, in what is believed to be the first such infection in the species so far.

According to a zoo press statement, the hippos, called Imani and Hermien, have displayed no symptoms "other than runny noses."

According to the report, the animals' exposure to COVID-19 is unknown; their caregivers have not displayed any Covid-19 symptoms and have all tested negative for the virus.

Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, are being held in seclusion for the time being and cannot be seen by tourists, according to the zoo authority.

"To my knowledge, this is the first time this species has been contaminated. This virus has largely been found in big apes and felines around the world," said Francis Vercammen, the zoo's physician who conducted the coronavirus tests. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 illnesses in zoo animals and pets have been documented around the world, including in big cats, primates, ferrets, and minks. Three snow leopards died of virus-related issues at a zoo in Nebraska last month. The most common animal species affected by coronavirus are companion animals, particularly cats and dogs. While the danger of human-to-human transmission is low, the CDC has warned that individuals can spread coronavirus to pets.