Outbreak of covid among zoo gorillas threatens Ozzie, the oldest in the world

An incident in Atlanta, United States, demonstrated that humans are not the only primates vulnerable to covid-19. Several of the gorillas at the local zoo were diagnosed with the disease after exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Among them was Ozzie, the oldest gorilla in the world, 502420 years old, who now shows moderate symptoms.

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Animals were tested after exhibiting typical symptoms of the disease, especially coughing, which were noticed by their caretakers. After initial tests, they were diagnosed with the virus, but the zoo said it expected an analysis from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory located in the state of Iowa.

The animals began treatment with antibodies Monoclonals and the entire population of zoo gorillas are also being tested to determine the size of the covid outbreak.

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To the 60 years old, Ozzie is the oldest gorilla of his species (Image: Press/Zoo Atlanta)

What worries zoo directors especially is how the gorillas were infected. “We are very concerned that these infections have occurred, especially as our safety protocols with great apes and other susceptible species are, and have been throughout the pandemic, extremely strict,” said Sam Rivera, director of animal health.

The suspicion is that some asymptomatic keeper took the virus without knowing it to the gorillas, even though he was vaccinated.

The zoo also informs that, to this day, there is no evidence that the animals that live there are capable of transmitting the virus to people. The opposite, however, is already well demonstrated, with several cases of covid in animals caused by infected keepers.

Now, the zoo has received authorization to use a veterinary vaccine against covid. The animals will receive the immunizer as soon as they recover. Other animals, including cats such as lions and tigers, will also be vaccinated.

Source: Science Alert

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