At least two gorillas at San Diego Zoo are infected with Covid-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.
Three animals are currently showing symptoms and it is suspected that the primates were infected by an asymptomatic staff member, according to a news release from the zoo.
This is the first known instance of coronavirus in great apes, though previous research has shown that some non-human primates are susceptible to the virus. The gorilla troop lives together as a family, so it is assumed that all members have been exposed to the virus, zoo officials say.
On Wednesday of last week, two San Diego Zoo gorillas began coughing. A preliminary test within the troop showed presence of the virus on Friday, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the positive results today. It is unknown if the gorillas will have any serious reaction, the zoo said, but they are being closely monitored.
“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.”
San Diego Zoo has been closed to the public since early December.