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debt…Marietjie Venter

Johannesburg – Lions caught at the South African Zoo Corona virus Their handlers have been sick for more than three weeks and tested positive for up to seven weeks, according to a new study that has raised concerns about the spread of the virus among wild animals.

It is not clear how much virus the lions were carrying or whether they were seriously infected throughout the period they tested positive. But researchers say long-term infections in large cats could increase the risk of an outbreak spreading in the wild and infecting other species. It can eventually spread the virus among wild animals and, at worst, create new variants that can return to humans.

Study at the University of Pretoria This may be the first time in Africa. Researchers at the Bronx Zoo began monitoring captive wildlife in zoos and sanctuaries after the tiger. Ill With the corona virus in April 2020, according to Professor Mariatji Vender, the primary researcher of the study.

The research team monitored two puma infected with the corona virus at a private zoo in July 2020 during South Africa’s first epidemic. Puma, who are not native to South Africa, began to show symptoms including loss of appetite, diarrhea, runny nose and persistent cough. Both cats fully recovered after 23 days.

About a year later three lions at the same zoo began to show similar symptoms. One of the lions, an old woman, developed pneumonia. The lion’s handler and the engineer at the zoo were confirmed to be infected.

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At this point, the researchers were able to sort the samples and find that the lions and their handlers were affected by the same delta variation. The disease, which is caused by lions, especially in older women, shows that animals, like people, can develop severe symptoms from the delta, which drove out a deadly wave of epidemics in South Africa.

Source: Center for Computer Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data reported over the past seven days.

The lions recovered after 25 days, but had positive PCR tests for more than three additional weeks. PCR tests can multiply the genetic material of the virus so that even very small amounts can be detected. Data show that the amount of virus that lions were carrying decreased during those weeks, and it is not clear how long they were contagious.

In captive environments, the animals were isolated, but in large parks around South Africa, lions are a common attraction, and the study says eruption is “very difficult” to control, especially if it is not detected. . These lions are fed more frequently by humans than by their prey, increasing their expression.

Dr. Vender, a professor of medical virology with a wildlife veterinarian, said: “If you do not know its covid, there is a risk that it could spread to other animals and then back to humans. This study.” If it spreads in the forest, it is more likely to become local, ”he said.

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The corona virus that triggers a global epidemic appears in bats and eventually infects humans, known as “spillover” infections.

Scientists warn that “spillback” infections by humans, which attack animals such as mink, deer and domestic cats, could destroy entire ecosystems in the wild. Infections that have reached the wild can spread uncontrollably in animals and expand the potential of the virus to become dangerous variants to humans.

This includes a well-researched event Infection among large populations of captive mink. At a mink farm in Denmark, the virus became a new strain of transition from human to mink, prompting mass slaughter of animals throughout the country and Europe to prevent it from spreading again to humans.

In contrast, the South African study included small eruptions, but Dr. Vender noted that the spread of mink shows the potential risk of large eruptions in wildlife.

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