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First reported case of fatal tuberculosis in a wild African elephant with past human-wildlife contact

By Vincent Obanda, J. Poghon, M. Yongo, I. Mulei, M. Ngotho, K. Waititu, J. Makumi, F. Gakuya, P. Omondi, R.C. Soriguer, S. Alasaad

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Abstract

Tuberculosis is emerging/re-emerging in captive elephant populations, where it causes morbidity and deaths, although no case of TB in wild African elephants has been reported. In this paper we report the first case of fatal TB in an African elephant in the wild. The infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis was confirmed by post-mortem and histological examinations of a female sub-adult elephant aged >12 years that died in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, while under treatment. This case is unique in that during its lifetime the elephant had contact with both humans and wild elephants. The source of the infection was unclear because the elephant could have acquired the infection in the orphanage or in the wild. However, our results show that wild elephants can maintain human TB in the wild and that the infection can be fatal.

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2013
Publication Title Epidemiology and Infection
Volume 141
Issue 7
Pages 5
Publisher Cambridge University Press
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10261/78556
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal diseases
  2. Animal health and hygiene
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Elephants
  6. Health
  7. human-animal contact
  8. human-wildlife interactions
  9. Infectious diseases
  10. Mammals
  11. Nature
  12. Tuberculosis
  13. Veterinarians
  14. veterinary care
  15. Veterinary medicine
  16. Wild animals
  17. wildlife