Two hippos at Belgian zoo have COVID-19

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Two hippopotamuses at a zoo in Belgium have tested positive for COVID-19.

Antwerp Zoo announced Friday that the country’s national veterinary lab confirmed two hippos contracted the disease and that the zoo would be closed until further notice, The Associated Press reported.

The infections appeared in a 14-year-old hippo named Imani and a 41-year-old hippo named Hermien. 

“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 said, according to the AP.

The zoo said the animals are doing well besides having runny noses, which is what first prompted zoo employees to get them tested.

Zoo employees who worked with the hippos have tested negative for the virus and now have to disinfect their shoes, wear masks and put on safety goggles before handling the infected animals, the AP noted.

The zoo will reportedly reopen once the hippos test negative for the coronavirus.

Tags animals Belgium Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic Hippopotamus
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