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Conference on Elephant Tuberculosis Research Establishes Action Plan at International Symposium on Elephant Conservation
Date:11/12/2007

ding sources will be needed in order to mobilize these critical areas of research.

In 2005, IEF and the Houston Zoo initiated an Endotheliotropic Elephant Herpesvirus (EEHV) workshop to bring together medical and veterinary experts to find a means to diagnose, treat and prevent EEHV, perhaps the single greatest health threat to the Asian elephants in human care. The group returned to this year's International Symposium with an update on the development of an ELISA test to determine which elephants have been exposed to the virus and the recent discovery of a new herpesvirus that is related to but genetically distinct from previously identified EEHV types. The Workshop has also pursued other key projects, such as the establishment of a herpes research lab in Asia and an ongoing epidemiology study. In 1995, pathologists at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park were the first to identify EEHV while investigating the sudden death of a 16-month-old Asian elephant born at the zoo. Only four known elephants have survived the disease, one of which is currently residing at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation(R).

Since the identification of EEHV, it has been determined that it has caused the death of almost one-quarter of the calves born into human care in North America and Europe, and recently investigators have reported multiple elephant deaths in Asia attributable to EEHV.

"This is a particularly devastating disease for elephant managers and conservationists. Not only does EEHV kill but it kills the most precious members of an elephant herd, the babies," said Deborah Olson, Executive Director of the International Elephant Foundation and co-sponsor of the Conference. "This is a worldwide problem and we must partner in finding solutions if we are to conserve the Asian elephant."

The International Elephant Conservation and Research Symposium provides a unique forum for the exchange of information and ideas for scientists and conservat
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SOURCE Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for ElephantConservation
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