Two Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo in California have tested positive for COVID-19, with several more symptomatic. The infections are believed to be the first ever reported in non-human primates anywhere in the world.
Two gorillas living in captivity at the San Diego Zoo in the US state of California tested positive for COVID-19, with several more exhibiting symptoms, California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday.
Newsom said the source of infection is still being investigated, as it is unclear how the virus was transmitted to the apes.
The two positive cases are believed to the first COVID-19 infections reported among non-human primates in captivity anywhere in the world. Other wildlife that are known to have contracted the virus include lions, tigers and minks .
San Diego Zoo Director Lisa Peterson told the Associated Press that eight gorillas living together at the park are now thought to be infected, and are showing symptoms including coughing.
Peterson added that a possible source of the infection could have been a member of the zoo's wildlife care team, who had tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic.
Veterinarians are monitoring the gorilla's condition and behavior, and the animals will receive fluids and food but no specific treatment for the virus. The zoo said it is working closely with experts in treating the coronavirus in humans, in case the gorillas develop severe symptoms.
"This is wildlife, and they have their own resiliency and can heal differently than we do," Peterson said, adding that for now the
focus is to keep the primates "healthy and thriving."
wmr/aw (AP, Reuters)