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Elephant Tuberculosis Initiative 

     

NEW - see also:
Tuberculosis in Elephants:
Elephant TB Scientific Advisory Board
Frequently Asked Questions
Comprehensive reference list on TB in elephants
ECI Elephant TB Initiative -
PDF brochure
Elephant Care International: TB Initiative Presented at the 2007 meeting of Zoos and Aquariums Committed to Conservation
TB: Implications for Elephant Management in Asia Presented at the 2006 meeting of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians

 

The following organizations have contributed directly to this Initiative:
AAZK (American Association of Zoo Keepers) Chapter of Buttonwood Park Zoo
Columbus Zoo
Dallas Zoo
Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund
Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (Hong Kong)
Oklahoma City Zoo
Tulsa Zoo

 

Elephants are susceptible to tuberculosis (TB) and are typically infected with the human strain. Just since 1994, TB has been diagnosed by culture in 12% of the Asian elephants in the U.S.  New serological evidence indicates the number of infected elephants may be considerably higher. 


TB a Factor in Mastodon Extinction

A new study by Bruce M. Rothschild, M.D. and Richard S. Laub PhD found signs of TB in 59 of 113 mastodon skeletons (52 %) and provides evidence that a TB pandemic may have contributed to extinction of this species.

TB in Asian elephant range countries 
Tuberculosis is a threat to captive elephants world-wide. One-fourth of all Asian elephants reside in captivity. The high incidence of TB among humans in Asia makes it likely that many elephants within Asia are also infected. India alone accounts for one-third of the world’s human cases. India is also home to half of all wild Asian elephants and some 3,500 captives. 

See the PDF of a PowerPoint presentation presented  at the 2006 meeting of the American Association
of Zoo Veterinarians
 TB: Implications for Elephant Management in Asia
 Caution large file, may load slowly on some connections

The Elephant Tuberculosis Initiative
The initiative is a comprehensive, long-term study of TB in elephants to: 1) validate diagnostic techniques, 2) improve treatment methods, 3) establish a surveillance system and database, and 4) with a goal to survey all Asian elephant range countries for TB by 2015. A study to evaluate new blood tests was conducted in Nepal in 2006.

See the PDF of a PowerPoint presentation presented at the 2007 meeting of Zoos and Aquariums Committed to Conservation: Elephant Care International: TB Initiative  Caution large file, may load slowly on some connections
 

Elephant Care International and Disney's Animal Kingdom
We have convened two teams of experts (in 2005 and 2006) to assess recent developments in the diagnosis and treatment of TB. A summary report of the 2005 meeting is at Summary - Elephant Tuberculosis Research Workshop
May 2005.
  A follow-up meeting was held in Tampa, FL in September 2006.

The occurrence of TB in elephants presents a multitude of challenges without historical precedent. The enormous size of the elephant, potential dangers of handling, our relative lack of knowledge of basic elephant biology, the expense of treatment, and human exposure are just some of the problems. Effective diagnostic and therapeutic techniques must be identified.

Projects in India and Nepal
Elephant Care International has TB projects in India and Nepal. Almost 1,000 elephants are being examined. Our India project is the largest elephant healthcare project ever launched.

Estimated TB prevalence in humans-
 Asian elephant range countries compared to U.S.

Country

Year

Prevalence
per
100,000 persons

Bangladesh

2003

420

Cambodia

2003

653

India

2003

287

Indonesia

2003

569

Lao People's Democratic Republic

2003

359

Malaysia

2003

114

Myanmar

2003

155

Nepal

2003

258

Sri Lanka

2003

72

Thailand

2003

168

United States of America

2003

3

NEW - see also:
Tuberculosis in Elephants:
Frequently Asked Questions

Comprehensive reference list on TB in elephants

Help the elephants.  Support the Elephant Tuberculosis
Initiativedirect your funds to this project.

 

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