MIAMI — A Florida ferret has tested positive for COVID-19, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Friday.
The USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed in a prepared statement that samples were taken after the animal showed clinical signs of COVID-19, including coughing and sneezing.
Florida’s Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory performed the ferret’s test, and authorities suspect that a human infected the animal, WPLG reported.
Lab officials also confirmed that the Florida ferret is the first in the country to test positive for the virus.
According to USDA data, there have been 231 confirmed positive coronavirus infections on nonfarmed animals and 17 on mink farms since the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Hill reported.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, available data indicates that the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to humans is low, but people can spread the virus to animals “in some situations.”
The USDA reported the rare case to The World Organization for Animal Health, WPLG reported.
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