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As a result of routine health testing of its animals, Taronga Zoo announced the discovery of a tuberculosis (TB) infection in one of its chimpanzees in September.

The zoo notified the NSW Chief Vet and NSW Heath authorities and commenced further testing into the status of the rest of the chimp group.

Initial results showed that the rest of the chimps are healthy, however there is evidence that some have been exposed, but are not infectious. As a precaution, all the chimps have been placed on an antibiotic treatment and are being monitored closely.

As a further precaution, the zoo requested a site inspection by NSW Health officials of the chimpanzee exhibit, and advice based on knowledge of the transfer of TB infection in humans is that there is no increased risk to zoo visitors.

An expert Working Group has been convened by the NSW Health and Veterinary authorities and includes the zoo’s vets. Their investigations will include an assessment of whether the infection was the same as one diagnosed in an Asian Elephant at the zoo last year.

The expert Working Group will meet over coming weeks to conduct joint investigations and respond as required.

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