Highlights:

  • California’s San Diego Zoo officials confirmed that two gorillas have been tested positive for COVID-19.
  • All the gorillas have been kept under quarantine.

On Monday, California’s San Diego Zoo officials confirmed that two gorillas have been tested positive for the deadly coronavirus. Similarly, a third gorilla is also showing symptoms, added an official. This is the first time a natural transmission has been spotted in great apes.

The officials mentioned that the two gorillas had been coughing for the past one week, after which the health experts decided to conduct COVID-19 tests on the animals. The officials further added that the two gorillas might have caught the infection from an asymptomatic zoo worker. However, the claim has not yet been confirmed by the zoo authorities. Since early December, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has been closed for visitors. This was due to a surge of cases in Southern California. 

Reportedly, as of now, the gorillas are doing well and have minor symptoms only. Lisa Peterson, the executive director of the zoo informed that aside from congestion and coughing, the gorillas were doing well. “We have kept the troop quarantined together. They are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery,” she added. Governor Gavin Newsom reported that while only two gorillas have tested positive till now, a third gorilla is also showing minor symptoms for coronavirus and will soon be tested for confirmation.

The workers of the zoo have been instructed to wear personal protective equipment such as masks when they are near the gorillas. Gorillas share up to 98 percent of their DNA with humans, and studies have found that some non-human primates are susceptible to COVID-19 infection.

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