The Dallas Zoo announced Tuesday that five of its western lowland gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19.
Although all five gorillas were asymptomatic, the animals are regularly tested as part of the routine for the zoo.
Experts at the zoo said great apes and big cats are known to be at risk of COVID-19 infection and have implemented strict protocols to prevent exposure.
Before each shift, zoologists are tested weekly and are required to use extensive PPE including fit-tested N95 masks. Since testing positive, the gorillas have not been treated but are being heavily monitored until they receive medical clearance.
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According to The Dallas Zoo, humans can transmit the virus to animals, but there is currently no data to suggest that zoo animals can transmit the virus to humans.
The staff is however prepared to provide treatment should the gorillas show a change in health and are taking precautions to keep their staff, guests, and animals safe.
So far, all other gorillas in the nest have tested negative but have not been separated from the infected gorillas.
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The Dallas Zoo said that while they are concerned about these preliminary test results, they are encouraged by the fact that the gorillas are not showing symptoms.