Gorillas from the San Diego Zoo catch COVID-19

Various gorillas of the San Diego Safari Zoo, in California (USA), they infected of covid-19 in which it could be the first known case of natural transmission of the coronavirus to great apes, the authorities of the facility reported on Monday when they quarantined the animals and reported EFE.

California Governor Gavin Newsom was the first to mention it in his regular conference where he reports on the state of the pandemic.

Lisa Peterson, the director of the Safari Zoo, said in turn that the gorillas are in confinement until further notice, but assured that they are doing well. He explained that they just have congestion and a cough. The director said that “several” gorillas fell ill, “without specifying how many.

The zoo does not know how the gorillas were infected, but specialists suspect that they acquired the infection through some staff member it would have been asymptomatic.

Peterson said that is a possibility, even though staff follow all recommendations, including safety protocols for COVID-19 like wearing protective gear when around gorillas.

The animals developed the contagion sometime in the past week. On Wednesday, two of them started cough, and veterinarians sampled them through the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System.

On Friday, preliminary tests detected the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in gorillas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the results Monday.

According to the zoo, this is the first known case of natural transmission from coronavirus to great apes and it is unknown if they will have any serious reactions.

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“For nearly a year, our team members have worked tirelessly, with the utmost determination, to protect each other and care for wildlife from this highly contagious virus,” said Director Peterson.

The zoo has been coordinating since March last year with Agriculture authorities and with the American Zoological Association to protect fauna from the danger of the pandemic.

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