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Aquarium of Niagara tightens procedures in response to first human-to-animal transmission of COVID-19

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Mon, Apr 6th 2020 11:50 am

From the Aquarium of Niagara

The Aquarium of Niagara is strengthening its COVID-19 procedures in light of the news that a tiger in New York City has contracted the COVID-19 virus. This is the first known case of transmission of COVID-19 from humans to animals at an accredited zoo or aquarium.

At the Aquarium of Niagara, the health and welfare of both our staff and our animal collection is of the upmost priority. Before there was any evidence that the coronavirus could be transmitted from humans to animals, the Aquarium of Niagara had implemented rigorous guidelines for our essential staff to follow while both on and off the premises. Any employee that experienced symptoms or came in contact with someone who showed symptoms of the COVID-19 virus was instructed to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days, a policy that exceeded recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Moving forward, we are restricting staff from entering the areas that provide care/housing to the animal collection unless they have specialized training associated with the care of those animals.

Right now, none of our animals are showing signs of respiratory illness. The aquarium’s zoological staff will closely monitor the animals under our care and our team of veterinarians will take further action on a case-by-case basis if necessary. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 infection to people.

The Aquarium of Niagara is committed to the safety of all involved while providing exemplary care to our animal collection. The aquarium continues to monitor the developments across the country and is ready to make changes to policies and procedures in accordance with guidance from the USDA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and local public health officials.

For more information about the Aquarium of Niagara, visit www.aquariumofniagara.org.

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