(CMR) At least two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for COVID-19, making them the first known great apes to contract the virus.
However, up to eight of the western lowland gorillas could be infected as several of them were coughing, the zoo said.
Positive results were confirmed for two animals tested on January 6.
It is believed that the animals were infected by a staff member who also tested positive for the virus but was asymptomatic and had worn a mask at all times around the gorillas.
Apart from coughing and congestion, the gorillas were said to be doing well.
The zoo said it was closely monitoring the animals as it was not known if the gorillas would have any serious reactions.
The park has since added more safety measures for its staff, including face shields and eye goggles when working in contact with the animals.
The zoo has been closed to the public since December 6 as part of the state of California’s lockdown efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
On Monday, January 11, California had 2,710,801 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 29,965 deaths. There were 4,971 patients in the ICU on Monday.
Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins University reported that the US surpassed 22 million cases of coronavirus over the weekend and that more than 375,000 had died due to contracting the virus.