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Gorillas at zoo test positive for COVID-19

 Three gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California have been tested positive for COVID-19. All eight western lowland gorillas, a critically endangered species have been exposed and several are now showing symptoms - others have began coughing since January 6. 

The USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories on January 11 has confirmed the infection.

"The fact that gorillas are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 should come as no surprise,” says disease ecologist Tony Goldberg of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Fortunately, gorillas at zoos have excellent medical care, and most will likely pull through due to the efforts of dedicated veterinarians. That’s not the case for gorillas in the wild, though."

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

Zoo officials suspect the gorillas got infected by an asymptomatic member of the park’s wildlife team who tested positive for the virus. The park has been closed to the public since 6 December 2020 as part of California’s lockdown efforts to curb coronavirus cases.

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