San Diego Gorillas Covid: Members of the Gorilla Troop in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. On Wednesday, January 6th, two gorillas began to cough. In the current circumstances, San Diego Zoo Global has initiated a process to test fecal samples from SARS-CoV-2 gorillas through the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CA HFS).
Preliminary tests detected the presence of the virus in the gorilla group on 8 January. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the positive results on Monday, 11 January.
The test results confirm the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in some gorillas and do not definitively rule out the presence of the virus in other members of the troop. Gorillas are suspected to have been infected by an asymptomatic staff member despite all the recommended precautions, including the safety protocols COVID-19 of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Research studies have verified that some non-human primates are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, but this is the first known case of natural transmission to large apes and it is not known whether they will have any serious reactions.
“For almost a year, our team members have worked tirelessly, with the utmost determination to protect each other and the wildlife in our care from this highly contagious virus,” said Peterson. “The safety of our personnel and the wildlife in our care remains our number one priority.”