New Delhi (NVI): Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus in what is believed to be the first known cases among such primates in the world.
“On Wednesday, January 6, two of the gorillas began coughing. Given current circumstances, San Diego Zoo Global initiated the process of testing fecal samples from the gorillas for SARS-CoV-2 through the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CA HFS),” San Diego zoo stated in an official statement.
“On January 8, the preliminary tests detected the presence of the virus in the gorilla troop. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the positive results on Monday, January 11,” the statement added.
Members of our gorilla troop tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well and we are hopeful for a full recovery. Read the full update: https://t.co/HIezWKBFxG pic.twitter.com/MAkPYPzxWP
— San Diego Zoo Safari Park (@sdzsafaripark) January 11, 2021
Three animals are currently showing symptoms of the virus, and it is suspected that they were infected by an asymptomatic staff member.
“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” parks executive director, Lisa Peterson said.
“The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery,” she added.
This is the first known instance of coronavirus in great apes, the zoo said, though previous research has shown that some non-human primates are susceptible.
Furthermore, the gorillas live as a family, so it is assumed that all members have been exposed, zoo officials added.
San Diego Zoo has been closed to the public since early December.