Zoo Atlanta announces multiple gorillas are being treated for COVID-19

With each passing month, the pandemic continues to spread. The bevy of headlines concerning COVID-19 are seemingly endless. Now gorillas at Zoo Atlanta are being treated for the virus.

Zoo Atlanta reported in a recent news release that the zoo has received presumptive positive test results for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within multiple members of its western lowland gorilla troops. Animal Care and Veterinary Teams noted that while there is no way to know precisely how the gorillas caught the virus, they believe that the infections may have originated from a care team member that was COVID-19 positive. The care team member in question is fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and was wearing protective equipment during the interaction, Zoo Atlanta reports.

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

Zoo Atlanta ensures that visitors do not pose a threat of transmitting the virus to gorillas, and that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that zoo animals can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to humans.

Having been authorized for its use, Zoo Atlanta will soon be using the Zoetis vaccine - a COVID-19 vaccine specifically for animals - on its orangutans, Sumatran tigers, African lions, clouded leopard and the affected gorillas once they recover. The Zoetis vaccine has been authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Georgia’s State Veterinarian.

Hunter Boyce

Hunter Boyce

Digital Producer and Journalist

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