Rome, 6 June 2021 – The wave of infections, which is bringing theIndia, does not spare even the animals. A leonessa nine-year-old, called Neela, passed away last Thursday after contracting the Covid-19. The feline was housed in the zoo in Vandalur in Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, one of the most affected by the pandemic in the country, specifically the Indian variant. Others eight lions have become infected, two of them, aged 23 and 19, are currently being monitored closely and undergoing veterinary treatments.
Last week the staff ofArignar Anna Zoological Park, this is the name of the park in Chennai, closed to the public since April 20, noted that the cats had lost their appetite, coughed and sneezed. Nine of these then tested positive for anti-Covid tests. Neela was practically asymptomatic, if it is true that only the day before her death showed some discharge from her nose.
“In animals there can be contagion with humans, especially among felines – explains Roberto Cauda, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit of the Gemelli in Rome -. Recently it also happened in a facility for the elderly in Germany and with the sequencing done it was shown that it was the same virus that was circulating in humans ». Until today, says Cauda, ”the felines have been infected with non-serious forms. The lioness will probably have contracted the very dangerous Indian variant. If she really died for this, the single case will have to be studied and understood better”.
Overwhelmed by criticism from animal rights activists, the zoo specified that safety protocols had been followed in recent days. All staff are vaccinated, tested regularly and wear protective suits whenever they come into contact with animals. Food is treated with ultraviolet rays. The most convincing hypothesis to understand the cause of death remains the one according to which Neela was infected by an asymptomatic, immunized operator. It must be said that the Indian case is not unique. In recent months, in a Swedish zoo, a 17-year-old lioness was euthanized as she was unable to overcome the Coronavirus disease.
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