Gorillas At The San Diego Zoo Test Positive For Coronavirus

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Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California have tested positive for coronavirus, a lab test confirmed Monday.

Two of the gorillas began coughing Wednesday, Jan. 6, according to a press release from the zoo. Preliminary tests from the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System detected the presence of coronavirus in fecal samples from the gorillas, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the results Monday.

The lab tests confirm that some of the gorillas have coronavirus but do not rule out the possibility that other gorillas in the troop are infected, according to the press release. (RELATED: Mountain Lion Found Wandering Downtown San Francisco Captured, Released Into The Wild)

“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” San Diego Zoo Safari Park executive director Lisa Peterson said. “The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery.”

The gorillas possibly contracted the virus from an asymptomatic staff member, although the press release says that all staff members were wearing PPE when near the gorillas and following safety precautions. “This is the first known instance of natural transmission to great apes and it is unknown if they will have any serious reaction,” the press release said.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has been closed to the public since Dec. 6 due to the coronavirus pandemic.