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Is tuberculosis a threat to elephants in the wild?

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Until recently, TB had never been reported in a wild elephant. Then in 2013, TB was diagnosed in a wild African elephant that had been under human care at an orphanage. In 2015 TB was found in a wild elephant in Sri Lanka. Now in 2017 four cases of TB in wild elephants in India were reported in the on-line journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. Dr. Mikota discusses the threat of TB to wild elephants in this invite CDC podcast:

You can also read the 2017 reports in the March issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases:

Zachariah A, Pandiyan J, Madhavilatha G, Mundayoor S, Chandramohan B, Sajesh P, et al. Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Wild Asian Elephants, Southern India. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(3):504-506.

Chandranaik B, Shivashankar B, Umashankar K, Nandini P, Giridhar P, Byregowda S, et al. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Free-Roaming Wild Asian Elephant. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(3):555-557.

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