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Several gorillas catch COVID in Atlanta

Thirteen western lowland gorillas have tested positive for COVID at Zoo Atlanta, officials said in a statement.

It is understood that they contracted the virus from a keeper, who is fully vaccinated and was asymptomatic and wearing PPE on the day in question.

Staff had noticed several of its 20 gorillas were exhibiting symptoms of the virus, including coughing, nasal discharge and minor changes in appetite.

Faecal samples and nasal and oral swabs were then sent to the Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Georgia, where they tested presumptively positive.

“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,” said Sam Rivera, DVM, Senior Director of Animal Health. 

“We are very concerned that these infections occurred, especially given that our safety protocols when working with great apes and other susceptible animal species are, and throughout the pandemic have been, extremely rigorous.”

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