The National Veterinary Services Laboratory has confirmed the results of five western lowland gorillas from the Dallas Zoo who tested positive for COVID-19.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the Dallas Zoo announced on February 8 that five of its gorillas had tested positive for the virus. The zoo has now announced via an Instagram post on February 15 that the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) made a confirmation that deemed the test results accurate.
Per the Instagram post, NVSL identified the virus as the Omicron variant.
Tests have been carried out on all the gorillas at the Dallas Zoo since the animals tested positive for COVID-19, but the zoo said that primates don’t need treatment yet, as they are not showing any symptoms.
However, zoologists and veterinarians said they would continue to keep a close eye on gorillas.
In a prior announcement, the Dallas Zoo said that the infections happened in an area of the zoo where COVID-19 protocols are being carried out to the letter. Zoologists are tested every week before stepping into animal areas. They also use extensive PPE, including fit-tested N95 masks.
The zoo intends to continue the protocols to guarantee staff safety further, and there are also plans to increase testing for staff.
While the zoo said in its prior announcement there is no data to suggest that zoo animals can transmit viruses to humans, it ended its latest statement by emphasizing that the gorillas and zoo visitors do not pose a transmission threat to each other.
Per the zoo, there is no possibility of that as there is an ample distance between the areas used by guests and where the animals are kept.