Otters Test Positive For COVID-19 At Georgia Aquarium

Two otters at the Georgia Aquarium have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, officials announced Sunday (April 18).

The unlikely patients are expected to fully recover.

The Georgia Aquarium announced the infections in a Facebook post, explaining that the Asian small-clawed otters were tested after they began showing symptoms.

NBC News notes that otters and other animals aren’t eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, but that transmissions to animals are rare. It wasn’t immediately clear whether any other animals at the Georgia Aquarium may have been exposed to the virus.

Here’s what the Georgia Aquarium said:

"Our Asian small-clawed otters have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They began exhibiting mild respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, runny noses, mild lethargy, and some began coughing. We’re happy to report they are doing well and expected to make a full recovery. They are off exhibit and being cared for behind-the-scenes by our expert animal health and care teams. Despite following all recommended health and safety protocols, it is suspected the otters may have acquired the infection from an asymptomatic staff member. The risk of animal-to-human transmission is incredibly rare. The Asian small-clawed otters at the Aquarium do not have direct contact with guests.”

Photo: Getty Images