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Zoological Medicine
Fatal elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus type 5 infection in a captive Asian elephant
  1. Daniela Denk1,
  2. Mark F. Stidworthy1,
  3. Sharon Redrobe2,
  4. Erin Latimer3,
  5. Gary S. Hayward4,
  6. Jonathan Cracknell5,
  7. Anais Claessens6,
  8. Falko Steinbach6,
  9. Sarah McGowan6 and
  10. Akbar Dastjerdi6
  1. 1IZVG Pathology, Gateway Drive, Yeadon, Leeds LS19 7XY
  2. 2Twycross Zoo, East Midland Zoological Society, Burton Road, Atherstone, Warwickshire CV9 3PX
  3. 3National Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Department of Pathology, Washington, DC 20008, USA
  4. 4Viral Oncology Program, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  5. 5Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, Longleat, Wiltshire BA12 7NJ
  6. 6Virology Department, AHVLA – Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB
  1. e-mail: d.denk{at}izvg.co.uk

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THE purpose of this letter is to draw urgent attention to a case of fatal haemorrhagic disease attributable to elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus type 5 (EEHV-5) infection in a captive Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), as a prelude to more detailed reports of the clinical and pathological findings (in preparation).

The affected animal was a 20-month-old captive-bred Asian elephant born and living at a collection in the UK within a herd of four adult female Asian elephants. It developed a rapidly progressive disease characterised by severe oedema, haemorrhage of mucosal membranes and cyanosis. Treatment followed protocols for extensive antiviral and supportive therapy and included drainage of the pericardial effusion under ultrasonographic guidance. Despite all efforts, the health of the animal deteriorated necessitating euthanasia. Postmortem findings were consistent with previously reported fatal …

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