The Dallas Zoo reported five of their western lowland gorillas tested positive for COVID-19 this past week.
Great apes, as well as big cats, are at risk for catching the virus, which can be transmitted from humans, according to the Dallas Zoo. To combat this, they said they regularly test at-risk animals and have implemented protocols, such as testing zoologists weekly and utilizing extensive PPE, to protect the animals from potential exposure.
The infections occurred where COVID-19 protocols were the most stringent, said the zoo.
While they said results are preliminary and are pending confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, the five gorillas that tested positive—Shana, B’Wenzi, Marcus, Asha, and Shanta—are all asymptomatic and do not require additional treatment. However, zoologists and veterinarians will closely monitor and test the gorillas until they test negative.
Although there is no data suggesting virus transmission from animals to humans, the zoo said they will increase testing for staff and continue their present protocols.
Visitors do not need to worry about transmitting the virus, or catching the virus, from the gorillas.
“Dallas Zoo visitors do not pose a transmission threat to the gorillas, or vice versa, given the distance between the areas used by guests and the animals’ habitats,” said the zoo.
None of the other gorillas have tested for COVID-19, according to the Dallas Zoo.
“While we are concerned about these preliminary test results, we are encouraged by the fact that the gorillas are not showing symptoms,” said the Dallas Zoo. “Our animal care staff is prepared to provide treatment if that changes, and we will continue to take every precaution available to keep our staff, guests, and animals safe and healthy.”
In other news:
- Baylor Scott & White’s 2022 Women’s Heart Health Event will take place Thursday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. Featured physicians on the women-led panel include cardiologists, a cardiothoracic surgeon, a vascular surgeon, internal medicine physicians, and a gynecologist. You can sign up for the virtual event here.