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Now tracking the new emerging South Africa Omicron Variant

Belgian hippos CoViD

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Dutch Josh View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 03 2021 at 12:12pm

[url]https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium-all-news/196210/hippos-at-zoo-antwerp-test-positive-for-covid-19[/url] or https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium-all-news/196210/hippos-at-zoo-antwerp-test-positive-for-covid-19 ;

The two hippos Imani and Hermien of ZOO Antwerp have tested positive for Covid-19, according to a press release.

“Both animals, apart from a runny nose, show no other symptoms and are doing well,” the ZOO says. “The animals are in isolation and the keepers are taking even stricter safety measures.”



The cause of the infection is not known. ZOO Antwerp says none of the keepers have recently contracted the disease, nor have any staff members shown any symptoms.

They acknowledged the possibility of someone contracting the virus asymptomatically and unknowingly transmitting it to the animals, but noted this would be impossible to determine.

“They were coughing up some snot, which I tested for bacteria as a precaution,” explained veterinarian Francis, who first detected the symptoms.

“The result was negative. But given the news, I took the extra step of also having the samples tested for COVID-19, with this exceptional result. To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines.”

Keepers now wear extra protective gear, do a daily rapid test and follow the established coronavirus protocol: as soon as any employee shows symptoms, they go into home quarantine and take a PCR test.

The hippo building was immediately closed to visitors and safety measures for keepers were tightened. In addition to wearing face masks and disinfecting their shoes, they now also wear safety goggles when in contact with the animals and avoid contact with other carers and animals.

Hippos Hermien (41 years old) and Imani (14.5 years old) show no other signs of illness but are closely monitored by their carers.

Last year all mammals in Antwerp Zoo were tested for the coronavirus in collaboration with the University of Antwerp and no COVID-19 was detected in the zoo.

DJ Belgium has 6 Omicron cases (Wiki, BNO still at 3) ...would Omicron be spreading in more animals faster ? (Or is it just still Delta).

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KiwiMum View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KiwiMum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2021 at 12:30pm

I did read something a few weeks ago saying that about 12 different captive or domestic animal species have tested positive for Covid, all of them catching it from their handlers. I'm not sure if hippos were on that list. I doubt they were. But it did say domestic cats and dogs, and went on to say that cats might prove to be a source to bring Covid into a house because of their tendency to roam.

"Once you've decided that something's absolutely true, you've closed your mind on it, and a closed mind doesn't go anywhere. Question everything. That's what education's all about." ~ David Eddings
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2021 at 10:36pm

I wonder how big the viral load of a hippo is!  And how much it can release into the air if it sneezes.   


The expanding animal reservoir  is not a good thing.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ME163 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2021 at 11:04pm

Was talking to the Vet the other day and he said it does worry him that animal species have caught the covid virus.  BTW, Omicron has reached pig populations in asia.  Here is where the rubber meets the road.  The last thing we want is Omicron to reach pigs and birds.   So, we need to find ways to speed up a response to Omicron.   This is going to get bad... 

ME163 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2021 at 2:12am

ME163, I was looking for links to "Omicron in pigs" ...did find this story [url]https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2021/11/articles/animals/other-animals/zoonotic-infection-from-a-household-aquarium/[/url] or https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2021/11/articles/animals/other-animals/zoonotic-infection-from-a-household-aquarium/ -bacterial infection giving SARS-2 like symptoms...

Also [url]https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/22221751.2021.2011625[/url] or https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/22221751.2021.2011625 interesting...; 

Finally, in February 2021 in another region in the Netherlands, two pig caretakers were confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive. They had close contact with the pigs in the days before onset of symptoms, which coincided with an episode of nonspecific respiratory clinical signs in weaned pigs, rearing gilts and sows. Clinical signs were characterised by cough and hyperthermia. Tonsil swabs and paired serum samples (27 paired and 3 single sera) were collected from 30 pigs (18 exhibited respiratory signs), to detect a minimal prevalence of ∼10% with 95% confidence. All tonsil swabs tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 by E gene PCR [3,14]. In five out of 57 sera SARS-CoV-2 spike-binding binding antibodies were detected with PMA. These sera were negative in the PRNT and RBD-ELISA.

DJ Also [url]https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2021/09/articles/animals/other-animals/covid-in-animals-review-updated-part-3-pigs/[/url] or https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2021/09/articles/animals/other-animals/covid-in-animals-review-updated-part-3-pigs/  did discuss CoViD in pigs....

If you follow the timeline African Swine Fever (ASF) was a major problem-also in China-before CoViD-19 showed up. I think there may have been a form of link between AFS and SARS-2...maybe pigs infected by AFS did give room for SARS-2 from bats ? Spreading it before they did get killed by the millions ?  ( In awfull ways...). 

Do you have a link for Omicron in Asian pigs ? 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ViQueen24 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2021 at 9:10am

Originally posted by ME163 ME163 wrote:

Was talking to the Vet the other day and he said it does worry him that animal species have caught the covid virus.  BTW, Omicron has reached pig populations in asia.  Here is where the rubber meets the road.  The last thing we want is Omicron to reach pigs and birds.   So, we need to find ways to speed up a response to Omicron.   This is going to get bad... 

ME163 


Dang skippy it's gonna get bad.  We're always two steps behind this virus.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2021 at 12:13pm

https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2021/09/articles/animals/other-animals/covid-in-animals-review-updated-part-3-pigs/


So, are pigs susceptible to SARS-CoV-2?

In one study,  5 pigs were experimentally infected and mixed with 3 other pigs. In another study, 9 pigs were infected and then mixed with 3 other pigs. A third study infected 9 pigs and added 6 uninfected pigs.

  • Nothing remarkable happened in any of these studies. None of the pigs got sick, and all samples collected were negative for the virus. Antibodies against the virus weren’t found in any of the pigs. This all indicated that the pigs were not infected, and there was a big sigh of relief as it appeared that concerns about pigs were unnecessary.

In yet another study, pigs were exposed to the virus via the nose, the trachea and by injection. All the pigs stayed healthy and the virus wasn’t detected in any samples from the pigs, but antibodies against the virus were found in pigs that were injected with the virus. That shows the body responded to the virus, but since it was injected, it’s not really relevant to the natural situation.

However, leave it to Canadians to be disruptive – another experimental study in pigs changed the story a little bit.  It didn’t raise major concerns, but it suggested things are not quite as clear cut as we’d hoped.

  • In the Canadian study, 16 pigs were exposed to a higher dose of the virus, and nothing remarkable happened. Some developed mild discharge from the eyes for a few days. One had a slight cough and was mildly depressed for a few days.
  • Low levels of virus were detected by PCR in respiratory samples from two of the sixteen pigs, but live virus could not be isolated.
  • The virus was isolated from a lymph node of one pig, and antibodies were detected in the blood of two pigs, supporting some level of true infection.
  • Two pigs were added to the exposed pigs 10 days after inoculation, and they didn’t become infected.
  • So, this study showed some degree of susceptibility in pigs, but with infrequent mild disease and no evidence that pigs are infected to the degree that they would be able to pass on the virus to another animal (or person).

Another similar study involving inoculation of pigs with SARS-CoV-2 by different routes (blood, trachea, nose) also found none of the pigs got sick. Viral RNA was detected from oral, nasal or rectal swabs by PCR in some inoculated pigs, but virus wasn’t isolated and transmission to in-contact pigs wasn’t observed. These two studies are still consistent with a “don’t worry” narrative – if there was human-to-pig transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the pig would not likely get sick and would not likely be able infect other pigs or people.

Have any pigs outside of a lab been infected with SARS-CoV-2?

There are no reports of any naturally infected pigs, but I’m also not aware of any actual testing of pigs on farms. (“We don’t think there’s anything to investigate” is often stated with an unspoken “we don’t really want to know.”)

Field data are always useful because experimental studies don’t tell the full story. So, some data about pigs exposed to infected farmers would be useful to have, to round out the story. There have to have been large numbers of pigs exposed to infected people, especially on some large farms in areas where COVID-19 has run rampant. The fact that we haven’t heard rumblings of problems is good. However, without formal surveillance, it only tells us we don’t have evidence of a significant pig health issue. We can’t rule out the potential that pigs get infected but don’t get sick. That’s why we really should have more active surveillance, looking at pigs that have potentially been exposed.

What’s the recommendation when it comes to SARS-CoV-2 and pigs?

The same as for other animal species. If we keep infected people away from animals, we don’t need to worry about human-to-animal transmission, or any subsequent animal health or animal-to-human transmission issues. While the odds of someone infecting a pig are very low, it’s best to avoid exposing pigs to infected people whenever possible. That may not be an option on small farms run by one person or a family, but the more we can keep infected people away from animals (of all kinds), the better.

What about new variants of SARS-CoV-2 in pigs?

That’s the wild card for all our animal discussions. Experimental studies were done early in the pandemic and used the original strain of the virus. The SARS-CoV-2 strains we’re seeing now are quite different, at least in humans. Odds are low that delta or other variants would be much more able to infect pigs, but we simply don’t know. As we see new variants, we need to realize that what we know from earlier work isn’t necessarily still the case. It’s another reason ongoing surveillance would be good, but I won’t hold my breath on that.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2021 at 10:30pm

The Hippos made it to the front page of the BBC world news... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59516896


So hitting the main stream a little after we heard of it here !

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