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Tuberculosis in elephants:

Tuberculosis in elephants By: Lendsay Zometa

Three of kind Species are living today:

Three of kind Species are living today African Forest Elephants: Loxodonta africana Asian Elephants: Elephas maximus African Bush Elephants: Loxodonta cyclotis

Classification Names:

Classification Names Domain: Eukarya Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia

What is tuberculosis?:

What is tuberculosis? Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection diseases that affects the lungs but can also harm any part of the body. It is caused by a bacteria known as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, which is airborne. There is two different kinds: Tuberculosis Infection and Tuberculosis Diseases 1. TB Infection have no symptoms and cannot be spread to others. 2. TB Disease is mostly spread in the lungs, easy to capture in humans with a weak immune system.


Two Asian elephants where diagnose with tuberculosis in Los Angeles Zoo March 1997 an Asian elephant died April 1997 Asian elephant (2) was tested and came out positive But 2009 in Tennessee elephants were report with tuberculosis and eight employees came out to be positive Problem

Symptoms on humans :

Symptoms on humans persistent cough Hemoptysis (coughing out blood) Night sweats and Fevers Difficulty in breathing Weight loss Chest pain


Elephants were tested from their trunk (trunk wash) Employees participated in a questionnaire medical history and received a skin test Examination An infection control assessment is conducted on animals measured to determine air flow throughout the facilities by smoke testing. Samples from walls, floors, gates, and drains were collected

Results :

Results In los Angeles Zoo both Asian elephants where transfer from an exotic animal facility in the United States. Four elephants from the exotic animal facility were positive with tuberculosis but the RFLP (DNA sample) blueprint differed. 336 employees from the LA Zoo (only 55 were positive) they were infected but not TB diseases

Cont. Results:

Cont. Results However in Tennessee elephants were transfer from private owners, zoos and circuses. In 2006 they accepted eight elephants from Illinois and one turned out to be positive, but in 2008 it died. Thirteen employees were tested and eight were infected with tuberculosis Figure. Tuberculin skin test (TST) conversion timeline for 13 employees who worked in the quarantine area of an elephant refuge, Tennessee, USA, 2009. Gray, exposure to quarantine barn; black, negative TST result; red, positive TST result; yellow, elephant L positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis . (This an example from the article Elephant-to-Human Transmission of Tuberculosis, 2009)

Proof :

Proof In Los Angeles Zoo it was proven that humans did not transmitted tuberculosis to the elephants. They were active with it before being transfer to the zoo. Many employees attended to the autopsy from the Asian elephant (1997) to see if it had died of Tuberculosis which was positive. In Tennessee Elephants did transmitted the disease to humans. Now employees test the elephants each year for tuberculosis. They are required to wear mask while cleaning or having contacts with the elephants.

Timeline in Tennessee:

Timeline in Tennessee 2004: The refuge received two female Asian elephants from Illinois 2005: One elephant died of Tuberculosis 2006: The refuge accepted eight more elephants 2008: Out of the eight elephants one died of uncaused of tuberculosis


Preventing In Tennessee are finding ways to reduce the transmission of tuberculosis on animal and humans. Antituberculosis medication wont work for elephant as it does on humans but treating elephants with care testing them each year would help a little.

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