Washington, D.C., December 21, 2021 -- The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in a Canada lynx at a zoo in Pennsylvania. This is the first Canada lynx confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the United States.
Samples were taken from the lynx after it showed signs of infection including coughing and lethargy.
While USDA has previously announced each new species confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the United States, moving forward, these cases will be posted on USDA’s website and a separate announcement will not be issued. Confirmed cases in animals are posted at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/dashboards/tableau/sars-dashboard.
USDA will continue to closely monitor cases of the infection in animals, will complete surveillance for the virus in animals under the American Rescue Plan framework, and will report cases to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in several animal species worldwide, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person with COVID-19. At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended. State, Tribal, local, and territorial animal health and public health officials will work with USDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2, using a One Health approach.
We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals. Based on the information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low.
People with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals during close contact. It is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection.
For more information about COVID-19 and animals and recommendations for pet owners and people who work around animals, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/animals/pets-other-animals.html
For more information about how and when to test animals, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/animals/animal-testing.html and https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/one_health/downloads/faq-public-on-companion-animal-testing.pdf
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.