Two hippos from Belgian zoo tested positive for COVID-19


BRUSSELS, December 4 (Reuters) – Two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Antwerp zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases of the species, zoo staff said.

Hippos Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, have no symptoms other than a runny nose, but the zoo said the couple had been quarantined as a precaution.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines,” zoo veterinarian Francis Vercammen said.

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The coronavirus is believed to have passed from animal to human, and there is evidence to have passed from humans to animals.

Pets, including cats, dogs and ferrets, have been infected following contact with their owners, while in zoos, cases have been reported in animals such as felines, otters , primates and hyenas.

The disease has also spread to mink farms and to wildlife, such as deer.

Antwerp Zoo is investigating the causes of the contagion. None of the zookeepers had recently shown symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for the virus, the zoo said.

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Reporting by Francesco Guarascio Editing by Helen Popper

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