This is the first known instance of coronavirus in great apes, the zoo said, though previous research has shown that some non-human primates are susceptible. The gorillas live as a family, so it is assumed that all members have been exposed, zoo officials say.
It started last Wednesday, when two zoo gorillas began coughing. A preliminary test within the group showed presence of the virus on Friday, and the US Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the positive results Monday.
It is unknown whether 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,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “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.