Even animals at the aquarium cannot escape the pandemic. A group of otters has tested positive for COVID-19. They are expected to make full recovery.The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta announced Sunday that seven Asian small-clawed otters have contracted the virus.The Asian small-clawed otters at Georgia Aquarium have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The aquarium said that the otters began showing respiratory symptoms, including sneezing, runny noses, mild lethargy, and coughing.
The officials suspect that the otters may have acquired the infection from an asymptomatic staff member. Even after precautions all staff who have been in contact with the otters have been tested. The otters do not have direct contact with guests and have always been behind acrylic barriers.
They added that otters are improving and expected to make a full recovery. They added that the otters are “off exhibit” and are being cared for behind the scenes by the Aquarium’s expert animal health and animal care teams.
Dr Tonya Clauss, vice president of animal and environmental health at Georgia Aquarium said that they are under close monitoring by veterinarians and animal care team members. They have displayed only mild symptoms and we expect them all to make a full recovery. They are providing supportive care as needed so they can eat, rest and recover.
The decision to test the Asian small-clawed otters for COVID-19 was made based on the clinical signs in the entire group. Georgia Aquarium veterinarians consulted with the state veterinarian’s office and the department of health. Several other animals have tested positive for the virus throughout the pandemic, including dogs, cats, thousands of mink, and tigers.