San Diego Zoo gorillas make full recovery from Covid-19

Several gorillas are back in public view for visitors at the San Diego Zoo after making a full recovery from Covid-19, according to an update from the zoo. By Madeline Holcombe and Cheri Mossburg, CNN

(CNN) -- Several gorillas are back in public view for visitors at the San Diego Zoo after making a full recovery from Covid-19, according to an update from the zoo.

Eight western lowland gorillas caught the West Coast variant of the virus, despite employees adhering to all recommended biosecurity precautions, zoo officials said.

A surge of Covid-19 cases in California in December and January included the variant that experts say may be more contagious than other strands of the virus.

All eight gorillas at the zoo were secluded after the diagnosis on January 11, with some showing symptoms that included "mild coughing, congestion, nasal discharge and intermittent lethargy," the zoo said in an online update.

"The gorillas were infected with the B.1.429 lineage of the coronavirus, which has been prevalent in California and may be more contagious than other strains," according to the zoo.

Zoo officials credit the gorillas' recuperation to "the highest standard of care" offered by the zoo's veterinary team, wildlife care professionals, and a collaboration with a wide array of colleagues and partners.

Winston, an elderly silverback gorilla, received monoclonal antibody therapy among his treatments. Due to concerns over Winston's age and underlying medical conditions, veterinarians performed a diagnostic examination and were able to confirm he had pneumonia and heart disease, San Diego Zoo Safari Park said in a news release.

From a supply not permitted for human use, Winston received monoclonal antibody therapy, heart medications and antibiotics.

"We're so grateful for the outpouring concern and support we've received while the troop safely recovered," said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "We're thrilled to share the joy that this beloved troop brings to our community and to our guests."

The zoo is sharing documentation of the coronavirus in its gorillas with hopes that it will help "provide important information regarding scientific understanding of the virus and its effects on great apes."

The zoo listed 10 state and federal government agencies and four private organizations that assisted with gorillas' recovery.

"There's a such a warm camaraderie felt with our colleagues as we continue to share knowledge," Peterson said. "We're incredibly thankful for the collaboration across various areas of expertise to ensure the best health for our troop and a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things."

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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