Atlanta, GA

13 gorillas test positive for COVID-19 at Atlanta Zoo

Amy Christie

The gorillas were tested for coronavirus after they had symptoms such as coughing, changes in appetite, and nasal discharges. Several samples were taken and tested at the Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. At least 13 gorillas tested positive for COVID-19.

What are the details?

“The teams are collecting samples for testing for the Zoo's entire gorilla population, which includes 20 members living in four troops, and will regularly test the gorillas regardless of the presence of symptoms,” the Atlanta zoo stated, according to Insider.

Dr. Sam Rivera, the senior director of animal health at Zoo Atlanta, revealed for AJC that the virus was first passed on to the gorillas by a vaccinated asymptomatic employee who looks after them. The worker had on protection equipment and no symptoms but later tested positive for the virus.

A spokesperson also stated that zoo employees don’t have to take the vaccine, even though the majority have already taken the shots.

After they recover from the infection, the gorillas will be vaccinated using a shot specifically created for animals. Those at the highest risk of complications will be treated with monoclonal antibodies. This included Ozzie, a 60-year-old gorilla who only has mild symptoms for now.

“The teams are very closely monitoring the affected gorillas and are hopeful they will make a complete recovery. They are receiving the best possible care, and we are prepared to provide additional supportive care should it become necessary,” Rivera added.

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

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