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1 March 2015 DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT OF TUBERCULOSIS (MYCOBACTERIUM TUBERCULOSIS) IN AN ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) WITH A NEWBORN CALF
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Abstract

In 2006, five Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were imported to Taronga Zoo, Australia, from Thailand. Pre-import and initial postarrival tuberculosis screening was performed by trunk wash (TW) culture and was negative for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In April 2009, the ElephantTB STAT-PAK® (SP) assay was used to test the elephants. A 15.5-yr-old pregnant cow was reactive. TW frequency for this cow was increased from annually to quarterly. TW cultures remained negative on all other elephants. In February 2010, the Dual Path Platform® (DPP) VetTB assay was used for the first time, and the SP-reactive cow also reacted on the DPP. A SP was run concurrently and was reactive. All other elephants were nonreactive on both assays. Treatment was not initiated due to concern about the effect of antituberculous drugs on the fetus. Quarterly TW cultures continued. The cow gave birth on 2 November 2010. A routine TW on 24 November 2010 was culture positive for M. tuberculosis. Although previous shedding could not be ruled out, reactivation of latent infection or exacerbation of subclinical disease due to parturition was suspected. Treatment with isoniazid, pyrazinamide, rifampicin, and ethambutol commenced. A 12-mo treatment course was completed within a 15-mo period. The isolate was susceptible to these drugs and genotyped as a Beijing strain. Stored serum samples from 2004 and 2006 were tested retrospectively and were reactive on SP and DPP. TW, SP, and DPP screening frequency increased to monthly for the positive cow on commencement of treatment in January 2011. Monthly serum biochemistry indicated drug-induced hepatitis. Therapeutic drug monitoring was conducted to ensure therapeutic levels were achieved. The infant calf was reactive on DPP, but TW culture negative, and was not treated. Serial DPP results for the cow and calf during and after treatment indicated that the antibody levels were declining, suggesting a favorable response to therapy in the dam, and that the origin of the antibodies in the calf were maternal, rather than a response to infection.

American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Larry Vogelnest, Frances Hulst, Paul Thompson, Konstantin P. Lyashchenko, and Kimberly A. Vinette Herrin "DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT OF TUBERCULOSIS (MYCOBACTERIUM TUBERCULOSIS) IN AN ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) WITH A NEWBORN CALF," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 46(1), 77-85, (1 March 2015). https://doi.org/10.1638/2014-0024R1.1
Received: 1 February 2014; Published: 1 March 2015
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