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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s zoo says at least 13 western lowland gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19, including 60-year-old Ozzie, the oldest male gorilla in captivity.
Zoo Atlanta said Friday that employees noticed the gorillas had been coughing,
had runny noses and showed changes in appetite. A veterinary lab at the University of Georgia returned positive tests for the respiratory illness. Zoo Atlanta says it’s waiting on confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa. The zoo says it is treating the gorillas at risk of developing complications from SARS-CoV-2 with monoclonal antibodies. The zoo is also testing all 20 of its gorillas, who live in four troops.
Zoo officials say they believe an asymptomatic employee who cares for the gorillas passed on the virus.
The employee had been fully vaccinated and was wearing protective equipment such as a mask and gloves.
The zoo says there’s no evi- dence that the gorillas can pass the virus back to humans and says visitors are too far away to be infected by gorillas.