Otters at Georgia Aquarium test positive for coronavirus

The Georgia Aquarium said it tested its Asian small-clawed otters after they showed symptoms.

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta says its Asian small-clawed otters tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.

The aquarium announced on Sunday that it tested the otters after they showed "mild respiratory symptoms including sneezing, runny noses, mild lethargy, and coughing."

The seven creatures are being cared for off-exhibit. Despite being geriatric, they are improving and expected to make a full recovery, the aquarium said.

"Our Asian small-clawed otters are under very close monitoring by veterinarians and animal care team members," Dr. Tonya Clauss, vice president of animal and environmental health at Georgia Aquarium, said. "We are providing supportive care as needed so they can eat, rest and recover."

The aquarium suspects the otters got the infection from an asymptomatic staff member and it tested all staff that were in contact with them. These animals do not have direct contact with guests and have always been separated from them by acrylic barriers, the aquarium said.

"The otters will continue to be monitored and once they are no longer positive for COVID-19, it will then be determined when they will go back on exhibit," it added in a statement.

This is the first time Georgia Aquarium has tested one of its animals for Covid-19, but it's not the first time an animal has tested positive.

In December, three snow leopards tested positive for coronavirus at the Louisville Zoo. Thousands of mink died at fur farms in Utah and Wisconsin after a series of coronavirus outbreaks. A small number of cats and dogs also have tested positive throughout the pandemic.

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