2 Belgian zoo hippos infected with Covid

Two hippopotamuses in a zoo in Belgium have contracted Covid and have been taken into quarantine, the media reported.

According to officials at Antwerp zoo, Imani, aged 14, and Hermien, 41, caught the virus, BBC reported.

The animals are doing well, apart from having runny noses, the officials said.

Meanwhile, restrictions have been tightened at the zoo until the animals test negative.

Globally, there have been several reports of captive and domesticated animals infected with SARS-CoV-2.

The hippos’ noses are usually wet, but vets at Antwerp Zoo decided to test the pair after they noticed they were “expelling snot”, the report said.

Their enclosure has been sealed off. Their handlers — who have tested negative — must wear masks and safety glasses, and disinfect their footwear before any contact with the hippos.

“To my knowledge, it’s the first recorded contamination among this species. Throughout the world this virus has mostly been seen in great apes and felines,” Antwerp Zoo vet Francis Vercammen was quoted as saying.

Earlier this week, Canada also confirmed that three Covid cases had been discovered in wild deer — the first such report in the country’s wildlife.

But limited testing means no-one knows how prevalent coronavirus is in the wild, the report said.




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