The Zoo Atlanta has said that at least 13 western lowland gorillas have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Ozzie, a 60-year-old gorilla, the oldest male gorilla in captivity, has tested positive too.
The zoo announced the news on Friday last week.
They said that employees noticed that the gorillas had been coughing, had have runny noses and showed changes in appetite.
A veterinary lab at the University of Georgia confirmed that the gorillas had caught the virus.
The lab results returned positive tests for the respiratory illness.
The Zoo Atlanta are now waiting on confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa.
The zoo officials believe that one of the vaccinated employees who take cares for the gorillas passed on the virus.
This happened even if the employee was wearing protective equipment such as masks and gloves.
Zookeepers are now treating the gorillas that are at risk of developing complications.
Monoclonal antibodies are being used for treatment.
Right now, all 20 of the Zoo Atlanta’s gorillas are being tested out.
Dr. Sam Rivera, the zoo’s senior director of animal health, said:
We are very concerned that these infections occurred, especially given that our safety protocols when working with great apes and other susceptible animal species are, and throughout the pandemic have been, extremely rigorous.
The zoo have said that they are now increasing their measures to keep their animals safe.
Employees are now telling their employees to have more protective masks and suits.
Also, they are not carrying out more cleaning measures and have increased ventilation.