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Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo contract coronavirus

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(WBNG) -- Multiple gorillas have tested positive for the coronavirus at the San Diego Zoo.

Jordan Patch, the owner of Animal Adventure Park, says the diagnosis is significant -- as it is the first known recording of gorillas testing positive for the virus.

He adds it will be something that will be watched closely by scientists and those in the zoological community since gorillas are not only endangered species, but also makeup over 98% of humans' DNA.

Patch says the gorillas most likely contracted it the same way humans do -- through contact with a person. In this case, their gatekeeper.

"With covid, if we've learned anything, it can spread easily and you can take many precautions as San Diego did -- the keeper was made, they followed protocols, but it was still contracted," said Patch.

He adds that zookeepers saw signs from the gorillas, like coughing and congestion, but were ultimately tested through their feces.

Patch notes that other animals have also contracted covid -- from felines to otters to ferrets-- saying some handling it better than others. He adds that in some animal groups, like ferrets, coronavirus has significant negative impacts and large kill rates.

He adds that at Animal Adventure, the staff and zookeepers take multiple precautions to make sure animals stay healthy. If any employee is showing signs of concern, they are sent home.

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