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Two hippos test positive for Covid at Antwerp zoo


Two hippos at Antwerp zoo in Belgium have tested positive for Covid-19 in what could be the first reported cases in the species, staff said.

Imani, aged 14, and Hermien, 41, have no symptoms apart from runny noses, but the zoo said they had been put in quarantine 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,” the zoo’s vet, Francis Vercammen, said.

The coronavirus is thought to have jumped from an animal to a human, and it is proved to have passed from humans to animals.

Pets including cats, dogs and ferrets have become infected following contact with their owners, and zoo cases have been reported in big cats, otters, primates and hyenas.

The disease has also spread in mink farms and to wild animals such as deer.
Antwerp zoo is investigating the causes of the outbreak. None of the zookeepers had recently shown Covid symptoms or tested positive for the virus, it said.



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