The Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV) Advisory Group met in Atlanta, GA, the Saturday following the joint American Association of Zoo Veterinarians/European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians conference in July 2016. This was the second meeting of the Advisory Group since its inception in 2014. Attendees included 13 Advisory Group members and 18 invited guests, representing 6 countries total, including veterinarians, researchers, and elephant management specialists. The meeting began with regional updates from North America, Europe, and Asia, covering important topics such as potential new diagnostic options for screening at risk calves, evaluation of shedding during elephant transfer, a census of cases and research efforts in Europe, and reports of wild elephant deaths from EEHV in India. The group then turned their focus to updating two documents that outline the Standards of Care for Elephant Calves (as related to EEHV) and EEHV Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing. These two important resources are currently under revision, with new updates being available soon.
Other topics discussed included African elephants and EEHV, with a sub group of attendees from African elephant institutions committing to work together on developing more information and eventual guidelines for monitoring for EEHV in African calves and herds. Because EEHV is a global problem with elephants in both human care and in range countries, the Advisory group will identify regional Steering Committees which can better assist with supporting research and collaborative efforts in their specific geographical areas. This reorganization will facilitate the broader dissemination of information and best practices.
The EEHV Advisory Group is still determining the best methods for endorsing research projects, the protocol for which will likely vary by region. The website supported by the EEHV Advisory Group, www.eehvinfo.org, is currently undergoing a major overhaul and will be fully updated very soon. This website continues to be a major resource for EEHV Collaborators as well as clinicians and animal care personnel learning about EEHV for the first time.
The group concluded in the afternoon developing a list to prioritize the various areas of EEHV-related research, to help guide future researchers and collaborators on what the biggest needs of the community are. The results are listed below:
- Virus Culture
- Antiviral Efficacy
- Pathogenesis, pathophysiology of hemorrhagic disease
- Vaccine Development
- Risk Factors Associated with EEHV HD
- Elephant Host Immune Response; Adaptive (cytokines, T cells, antibodies)
- Antibody Test
- Hemostatic response; Clotting, platelets, etc
- African elephant epidemiology
- EEHV Shedding (origin of shedding, saliva vs trunk wash, fetal fluids)
- Early morphological changes to detect disease (lymph nodes)
- Elephant Host Immune Response: Innate (cytokines, host defenses, acute phase proteins)
- Genetics related to EEHV (Elephant genetics) and viral evolution
- Wild Asian elephant surveys
- Aciclovir pharmacokinetic study (PK) in Asian elephants
- Famciclovir PK Study in Africans
- Ganciclovir PK in Asian elephants
The complete report of the EEHV Advisory Group, as well as the updated documents on Standards of Care for elephant calves and Monitoring and Testing, will be available to the public on www.eehvinfo.org by mid October 2016.
The EEHV Advisory Group would like to acknowledge their generous sponsors, without whom this critical meeting would not have taken place:
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
International Elephant Foundation
Oklahoma City Zoo
Ft. Worth Zoo
Ringling Bros Center for Elephant Conservation
Smithsonian’s National Zoo