SANTA ROSA, Calif., Dec. 10 (UPI) — Officials at a wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa, Calif., said an 8-year-old cheetah at the site tested positive for the H1N1 virus.
KSBW-TV, Salinas, Calif., said Wednesday that Gijima the cheetah at the Safari West Wildlife Preserve and African Tent Camp is the first exotic animal to have tested positive for H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, in the United States.
Preserve caretakers sought to have Gijima tested for the potentially deadly virus after the large cat began showing symptoms on Nov. 15. The animal appeared lethargic and had little interest in food, caretakers said.
Officials at the wildlife site said it remains unclear how Gijima, who has since recovered from the virus, contracted H1N1.
The officials told KSBW that workers at the site sterilize food bowls and other tools used with the animals, along with employing frequent hand washing and the use of foot baths at animal enclosures.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International