Three gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Spanish zoo.
It is not the first case of gorillas being infected, following reports last year that multiple gorillas at a San Diego zoo in the United States had tested positive for COVID-19, but experts are worried about what variant is behind the new infections and are checking to see if there are any mutation.
The infections took place at the Cabarceno Nature Park, which is a zoo and nature reserve located in the town of Cabarceno, in the autonomous community of Cantabria, in northern Spain.
The Government of Cantabria said in a statement on Saturday (28th May): “The Microbiology Laboratory of the Marques de Valdecilla University Hospital has detected COVID-19 in three gorillas in the Cabarceno Nature Park.”
The statement also said that “tests will be carried out on the caregivers of the enclosure of these animals that have been in close contact to know the traceability of the contagion and the genetics/variant of the virus.”
The Cantabrian authorities added: “The Park veterinarian suspected COVID in gorillas at this facility. Stool samples were taken and, after being analyzed by the Microbiology Laboratory, SARS-CoV-2 was detected.
“Public Health of the Government of Cantabria will summon the keepers of these animals who have been in close contact with them to test them.
“The gorilla samples will also be repeated, in order to sequence the virus and check whether or not there is a mutation.
“The scientific evidence on the behavior of SARS-CoV-2 in animals is scarce and Public Health wants to monitor and monitor these cases in order to know the genome of the virus and if there have been mutations or if it is a variant different from the one currently circulating. All this to better control its evolution.
“The gorillas of the Cabarceno Park are in an exclusive enclosure for this species, in which the animals are isolated.”
The authorities added that the incident had not impeded the normal operation of the zoo.