Eight GORILLAS contract Covid at San Diego zoo after staff notice them coughing in first case of virus spreading to apes

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EIGHT gorillas at San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for Covid on Monday in the first documented cases of the virus spreading to apes.

The gorillas all live together in a section of the park, and several had been showing symptoms, according to the park’s executive director, Lisa Peterson.

AP:Associated Press

Several gorillas at San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for Covid[/caption]

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The zoo has been closed to the public since December 6[/caption]

It appears the infection came from a member of the park’s wildlife care team who also tested positive for the virus, but had been asymptomatic and always wore a mask around the animals.

The park has been closed to visitors since December 6 as part of California‘s lockdown, as the state deals with skyrocketing cases of the virus.

Peterson said vets were closely monitoring the gorillas and they would remain in their habitat at the park, north of San Diego.

Peterson said that aside from some mild symptoms, the animals are doing well.

AP:Associated Press

Several of the gorillas at the zoo were apparently showing symptoms of the virus, like coughing[/caption]

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Executive Director Lisa Peterson said the gorillas are doing well[/caption]

“For now, they are being given vitamins, fluid and food but no specific treatment for the virus,” she said.

“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well.

“The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery,” she added.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, in his latest coronavirus update for the state, said the source of the gorillas’ infection was still under investigation to determine whether the virus was transmitted between animals or from humans to the apes.

Zoo authorities initiated testing of fecal samples of the park’s gorillas after two of the apes began coughing last Wednesday, and preliminary results two days later found the presence of the virus among the gorilla troop.

The positive results were officially confirmed on Monday.

Gorillas are members of the family of primates known as the great apes, or hominids, that also include orangutans, chimpanzees and humans.

The coronavirus has also been found in a number of other wild-animal species in captivity, including several lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo in New York and four lions at the Barcelona Zoo in Spain.


The gorillas in San Diego are believed to mark the first known case of infections confirmed in apes.

The virus also has shown up in a number of household dogs and cats.

Last month, the first known case emerged in an animal in the wild, a mink, following an outbreak among farmed minks that killed 15,000 of the animals.

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