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Kansas City Zoo gorilla tests positive for COVID-19

Curtis the gorilla
Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 17:52:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The Kansas City Zoo announced Tuesday that one of their western lowland gorillas tested positive for the delta variant of COVID-19.

The other five gorillas in their troop were presumptive positive, but the Zoo is waiting for confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, according to a release.

The first gorilla, Charlie, started showing symptoms on Sept. 22 and began coughing a few days later on Sept. 25. The KC Zoo's veterinary health team began treating the animal immediately, and Charlie is responding well to treatment.

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The other members of the troop started showing symptoms within 72 hours, including loss of appetite, coughing and lethargy.

"All the gorillas have been treated with supportive care medications including expectorants, Vitamin C, Zinc and ibuprofen as needed," the release said. "Though the Zoo has determined that all our great apes, including gorillas, will receive the Zoetis vaccine for COVID-19, we have not yet received our doses of the vaccine."

Zoetis, an animal health company headquartered out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, developed a COVID-19 vaccine for animals, and it has been approved by the USDA for experimental use on a case-by-case basis.

The KC Zoo does not know how the gorillas got COVID-19 and said that visitors are at a minimal to no risk of catching the virus from the primates because of the distance between the viewing area and the animals.