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Los Angeles (AFP)
At least two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo in California have contracted the coronavirus, the first known case of natural transmission to great apes, officials said Monday.
Two primates started coughing last week and have since tested positive for Covid-19, while a third is showing symptoms, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
They are believed to have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic zoo worker, although this has not yet been confirmed.
“Aside from a little congestion and cough, gorillas are fine,” world-renowned zoo executive director Lisa Peterson said in a statement.
“The troops stay in quarantine together and eat and drink. We hope for a full recovery. ”
Gorillas share up to 98% of their DNA with humans, and studies have shown that some non-human primates are susceptible to infection with Covid-19.
It is not yet known whether the gorillas will have a serious reaction to the disease that has killed 1.94 million humans, or if other members of the troop have also been infected.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where gorillas are kept, has been closed to visitors since early December as record cases began to cross southern California.
Workers are all required to wear personal protective equipment such as masks when around gorillas, the zoo said.
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