Tuberculosis in Elephants Meeting Update

Filed Under: Keeper Diary

A one day meeting of the Management and Research Priorities of Tuberculosis (Mtb) for Elephants in Human Care Stakeholders group was held in conjunction with the annual American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta Georgia on July 24th, 2016. There were 31 participants present representing zoo veterinarians and pathologists from the US and Europe, public health experts from veterinary and human medical fields, epidemiologists, physicians and leaders in elephant husbandry. The first half of the day included a brief update on the promotion and acceptance of the 2015 Recommendations of the Stakeholders, given by Joan Galvin, JD followed by research updates.

Research update topics:

  • Current living point prevalence of Mtb in captive Asian Elephants
  • Results of the population epidemiologic survey of US elephant holding institutions
  • Elephants, Humans and Mtb; A zoonotic experience from the Oregon Zoo
  • Presentation of Bronchoalveolar lavage for Mtb diagnosis and screening in Elephants
  • Update on white blood cell (WBC) function assay in Mtb infected Asian Elephants
  • Diagnostic Update; Status of the real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) validation compared to trunk wash (TW) at National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL)
  • Review of the WBC transformation diagnostic testing at the lab in Zurich
  • Review of DPP® TB diagnostic test at NVSL

In the afternoon the attendees divided into working groups to review and provide updates to needed portions of the “RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF TUBERCULOSIS, Mycobacteria tuberculosis IN ELEPHANTS 2015”. (See current recommendations here.) Working groups included diagnostics, treatment, public health and elephant management groups. The recorded updates and recommendations were compiled by a team leader in each section and will be submitted to the Co-editors of the Recommendations for compilation and updating the ‘Recommendations” into a 2017 version.

This meeting was made possible with the generous support of the following sponsors:
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Feld Center for Elephant Conservation
The Oregon Zoo
International Elephant Foundation