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St. Louis Zoo announces big cats recovered from COVID-19

Eight big cats tested positive for the virus three weeks ago. The zoo said they now only have occasional coughing or sneezing.

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Zoo had some good news to share on Wednesday about the big cats that recently tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19. In a social media post, the zoo said they have recovered.

Three weeks ago, The St. Louis Zoo announced that eight big cats tested positive. That included two African lions, two snow leopards, two jaguars, an Amur tiger and a puma.

"We are happy to update that the affected animals have recovered from the respiratory infections, with only occasional coughing or sneezing noted," the zoo said in the post.

The cats had already been either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated against the virus before they got sick. The zoo said they believe the vaccine helped the cats only develop mild symptoms. The cats got a two-dose series of the vaccine between Sept. 30 and Oct. 26. They previously said they think the big cats were exposed before their second dose.

RELATED: Saint Louis Zoo begins vaccinating at-risk animals against COVID-19

Some of the big cats that showed signs of COVID-19 got some extra care to help them recover. The keepers also monitored their respiratory rate and reported any information to the zoo's veterinarians.

The cats were also tested weekly and the veterinarians used that information to help understand the risk of transmission. The zoo previously said the virus was isolated to Big Cat Country and on Wednesday said no other animals at the zoo are showing signs of COVID-19.

The staff is required to mask indoors and when around potentially at-risk animals. Employees are also required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.


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