Eight Quarantined Gorillas at San Diego Zoo Have Now Fully Recovered from COVID-19

The recent recovery of the San Diego Zoo’s gorillas is cause for celebration, as these eight western lowland gorillas had sadly contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. While reports of primates contracting the virus are not frequently found in today’s headlines, the situation itself is nothing new; wild apes in Africa reportedly experience lethal outbreaks caused by human respiratory diseases

Back in January, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park discovered two gorillas coughing. Veterinarians at the zoo tested the apes and recognized RNA from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Luckily, these gorillas and the others who tested positive would receive some of the best and most attentive care, with vitamin, fluid, and food administration by professionals but, as is the case, no vaccine or specific medications were distributed. The exception was an elderly silverback gorilla named Winston, who had been diagnosed with pneumonia and heart disease, and received specialized treatment due to his vulnerable medical status.

At present, there is no COVID-19 vaccine for pets (or primates), so the zoo mainly kept watch and separated the gorillas into their own quarantined space. Their symptoms luckily seemed light overall, and by last Saturday it was revealed via a press release that the gorillas had made a full recovery and were back for visitors to view at the San Diego Zoo.

All of this was absolutely a team effort, though: ten state and federal agencies along with four private organizations all pitched in to ensure the infected gorilla troop received some of the best care in the world. 

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