A Belgian zoo announced, Friday, that two hippos in its care were placed in isolation, after they tested positive for Covid-19, which is perhaps the first time ever that such animals have contracted the disease.
And the Belgian National Veterinary Laboratory confirmed that two hippos at the Antwerp Zoo – called Imani (14) and Hermine (41) – were infected with Covid-19.
It is unclear how they contracted the disease, and both are in good health, apart from an exceptionally runny nose. Keepers tightened anti-virus restrictions throughout the zoo .
In this regard, Francis Verkamen, a veterinarian at the Antwerp Zoo, said: “As far as I know, this is the first recorded outbreak among these breeds. Worldwide, this virus has been seen mostly in great apes and cats.”
All zoo animals were tested for COVID-19 last year, and no cases of infection were detected.
Hippopotamuses’ noses are usually wet, but Verkamen said he decided to test the thick liquid coming out as a precaution, and was surprised by the result.
The park’s hippo pen has been closed to visitors and is set to reopen only when the hippo test results are negative.
The result of the virus tests came for all zoo workers, and they must put masks and other precautionary measures before dealing with hippopotamuses