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Outbreak of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection among captive Asian elephants in a Swedish zoo
  1. S. Sternberg Lewerin, DVM, PhD,
  2. K. Eld, DVM,
  3. G. Bölske, DVM, PhD1,
  4. S-L. Olsson, DVM, PhD2,
  5. B. Röken, DVM3,
  6. S. Ghebremichael, BSc,
  7. T. Koivula, MSc and
  8. G. Källenius, MD, PhD4
  1. 1 National Veterinary Institute, SE-751 89 Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2 Swedish Board of Agriculture, SE-551 82 Jönköping, Sweden
  3. 3 Kolmården Zoo, SE-618 92 Kolmården, Sweden
  4. 4 Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Nobels väg 18, SE-171 82 Solna, Sweden


Between 2001 and 2003, there was an outbreak of tuberculosis in a Swedish zoo which involved elephants, giraffes, rhinoceroses and buffaloes. Cultures of trunk lavages were used to detect infected elephants, tuberculin testing was used in the giraffes and buffaloes, and tracheal lavage and tuberculin testing were used in the rhinoceroses. The bacteria isolated were investigated by spoligotyping and restriction fragment length polymorphism. Five elephants and one giraffe were found to have been infected by four different strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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