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Stanton J.J.,Baylor College of Medicine | Zong J.-C.,Viral Oncology Program | Eng C.,Baylor College of Medicine | Howard L.,Houston Zoo Inc. | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause fatal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants (Elephas maximus); however, sporadic shedding of virus in trunk washes collected from healthy elephants also has been detected. Data regarding the relationship of viral loads in blood compared with trunk washes are lacking, and questions about whether elephants can undergo multiple infections with EEHVs have not been addressed previously. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to determine the kinetics of EEHV1 loads, and genotypic analysis was performed on EEHV1 DNA detected in various fluid samples obtained from five Asian elephants that survived detectable EEHV1 DNAemia on at least two separate occasions. In three elephants displaying clinical signs of illness, preclinical EEHV1 DNAemia was detectable, and peak whole-blood viral loads occurred 3-8 days after the onset of clinical signs. In two elephants with EEHV1 DNAemia that persisted for 7-21 days, no clinical signs of illness were observed. Detection of EEHV1 DNA in trunk washes peaked approximately 21 days after DNAemia, and viral genotypes detected during DNAemia matched those detected in subsequent trunk washes from the same elephant. In each of the five elephants, two distinct EEHV1 genotypes were identified in whole blood and trunk washes at different time points. In each case, these genotypes represented both an EEHV1A and an EEHV1B subtype. These data suggest that knowledge of viral loads could be useful for the management of elephants before or during clinical illness. Furthermore, sequential infection with both EEHV1 subtypes occurs in Asian elephants, suggesting that they do not elicit cross-protective sterilizing immunity. These data will be useful to individuals involved in the husbandry and clinical care of Asian elephants. Copyright 2013 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Fuery A.,Baylor College of Medicine | Browning G.R.,Baylor College of Medicine | Tan J.,Baylor College of Medicine | Long S.,Viral Oncology Program | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2016

Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants. A number of EEHV types and subtypes exist, where most deaths have been caused by EEHV1A and EEHV1B. EEHV4 has been attributed to two deaths, but as both diagnoses were made postmortem, EEHV4 disease has not yet been observed and recorded clinically. In this brief communication, two cases of EEHV4 infection in juvenile elephants at the Houston Zoo are described, where both cases were resolved following intensive treatment and administration of famciclovir. A quantitative real-Time polymerase chain reaction detected EEHV4 viremia that correlated with clinical signs. High levels of EEHV4 shedding from trunk wash secretions of the first viremic elephant correlated with subsequent infection of the second elephant with EEHV4. It is hoped that the observations made in these cases-And the successful treatment regimen used-will help other institutions identify and treat EEHV4 infection in the future. © Copyright 2016 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

PubMed | Complutense University of Madrid, Animal and Plant Health Agency, East Midland Zoological Society, Erasmus Medical Center and 4 more.
Type: | Journal: BMC veterinary research | Year: 2015

Elephants are classified as critically endangered animals by the International Union for Conservation of Species (IUCN). Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) poses a large threat to breeding programs of captive Asian elephants by causing fatal haemorrhagic disease. EEHV infection is detected by PCR in samples from both clinically ill and asymptomatic elephants with an active infection, whereas latent carriers can be distinguished exclusively via serological assays. To date, identification of latent carriers has been challenging, since there are no serological assays capable of detecting seropositive elephants.Here we describe a novel ELISA that specifically detects EEHV antibodies circulating in Asian elephant plasma/serum. Approximately 80 % of PCR positive elephants display EEHV-specific antibodies. Monitoring three Asian elephant herds from European zoos revealed that the serostatus of elephants within a herd varied from non-detectable to high titers. The antibody titers showed typical herpes-like rise-and-fall patterns in time which occur in all seropositive animals in the herd more or less simultaneously.This study shows that the developed ELISA is suitable to detect antibodies specific to EEHV. It allows study of EEHV seroprevalence in Asian elephants. Results confirm that EEHV prevalence among Asian elephants (whether captive-born or wild-caught) is high.

Rommel R.E.,Apple Inc | Crump P.S.,Houston Zoo Inc. | Crump P.S.,University of New Brunswick | Packard J.M.,Texas A&M University
Journal of Herpetology | Year: 2016

Where endangered species occur, recommendations call for conservation education programs that engage local educators; however, few studies have measured the effectiveness of implemented programs. We conducted a multipartner educator workshop for the endangered Houston Toad, Anaxyrus houstonensis, as one local example illustrating the broader issue of globally declining amphibians. We measured the effect of the workshop on participants' (n = 50) awareness/knowledge, values, beliefs, emotions, and intent to take action. We observed significant increases in awareness/knowledge and values regarding general amphibian declines and the focal species. The workshop significantly increased participants' belief that they had necessary resources to teach about the Houston Toad. Ninety-nine percent of participants agreed that they cared more about wild toads after meeting live ambassador toads. Postworkshop, we observed a 33% increase in use of amphibians or Houston Toads in participant learning settings. We recommend that educator workshops include biologist-educator teams, identify and address incentives and barriers to action, develop ecological knowledge, and incorporate experiential programming focused on native species and habitats. © 2016 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Rousselet E.,Texas Tech University | Stacy N.I.,University of Florida | Lavictoire K.,Houston Zoo Inc. | Higgins B.M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Abstract: Blood samples of 85 immature, apparently healthy, captive-reared loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) were analyzed for 13 hematologic variables and total solids of 5 age groups (8, 20, 32, 44, and 56 mo old) and for 20 plasma biochemical analytes of 4 age groups (20 to 56 mo old). Each individual turtle was sampled under similar conditions during a blood collection period of 3 days. Hematologic analytes included packed cell volume, white blood cell (WBC) counts, WBC estimates, and leukocyte differentials. Biochemical analysis included albumin, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, aspartate aminotransferase, blood urea nitrogen, calcium, chloride, cholesterol, creatine kinase, creatinine, gamma glutamyltransferase, globulins, glucose, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, total bilirubin, total protein, total solids, and uric acid. In due consideration of small sample size in all five age groups, the results of hematologic and biochemical analysis were used to determine ranges for these analytes and to compare values among consecutive age groups. Several significant differences in some hematologic and biochemical variables were identified and need to be considered in the interpretation of blood work of immature, growing sea turtles in human care. © 2013 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Allton D.R.,U.S. Army | Allton D.R.,U.S. Air force | Rivard R.G.,U.S. Army | Connolly P.A.,MiraVista Diagnostics | And 6 more authors.
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology | Year: 2010

During a Histoplasma outbreak in a colony of fruit bats at a southern United States zoo, it was observed that although Histoplasma was recovered in culture from multiple sites at necropsy, none of the samples collected from those bats tested positive for Histoplasma antigen (HAg). Five of the Histoplasma isolates from the bats were subsequently identified as Latin American (LA) clade A, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) class 6. These observations raised concern as to whether the commercially available HAg test could detect Histoplasma antigen not of the North American clade upon which the HAg test had been developed. To evaluate this concern, a murine model of disseminated histoplasmosis was established, and mice were infected with multiple LA Histoplasma isolates, including clinical isolates recovered from Brazilian AIDS patients (RFLP class 5 and class 6) and isolates recovered from the bats during the outbreak (RFLP class 6). Histoplasma antigen was detected in all infected mice in our experiments, even when Histoplasma was not recovered in culture. Because the currently available HAg test is able to detect Histoplasma antigen in mice infected with Latin American isolates, this suggests that bat host factors rather than differences among Histoplasma RFLP classes were responsible for the inability to detect HAg in infected bats. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Crump P.S.,Houston Zoo Inc. | Crump P.S.,University of New Brunswick | Robertson S.J.,Natural Resource Management Section | Rommel-Crump R.E.,Houston Zoo Inc.
Herpetological Conservation and Biology | Year: 2016

We describe a high incidence of road-killed freshwater turtles along a section of US 190 in eastern Texas, USA. The surveyed section spans B.A. Steinhagen Lake by means of a series of bridges and a causeway. We detected 850 road-killed turtles between 2008 and 2012 of which 40% were positively identified as female, 1% male, and the remaining 59% were too damaged to confirm the sex. We found more dead turtles during the breeding season (May to August) than other times of year. The causeway is attractive to female turtles as a nesting site, and the use of the road side causes an increased risk of road mortality. To our knowledge, this site has the highest documented rate of unmitigated turtle road mortality in North America. © 2016. Paul S. Crump. All Rights Reserved.

Kendall R.,Manchester Metropolitan University | Kendall R.,University of Guelph | Howard L.,Houston Zoo Inc. | Masters N.,Zoological Society of London | Grant R.,Manchester Metropolitan University
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2016

Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is one of the most devastating infections and causes of mortality in captive Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations. Eight confirmed fatal EEHV cases have occurred since 1995 within the captive Asian elephant population of the United Kingdom and Ireland. This report aims to review the impact of EEHV on the captive Asian elephant population in the United Kingdom and Ireland, document and compare fatal cases, and recommend a framework of monitoring within the United Kingdom and Ireland to increase the success of treatment of EEHV hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) in the future. Six zoologic institutions (which include zoos, safari parks, and wildlife parks) that currently house or have previously housed a captive Asian elephant group were included in this report. Medical records and postmortem results were collected from four of these institutions for each confirmed fatal case. EEHV HD was found to be responsible for 29.6% of fatalities in Asian elephants born in captivity in the United Kingdom and Ireland between 1995 and 2013. Following a review of all the cases, it is shown that although clinical signs may be associated with specific EEHV species, the swiftness of disease progression means that most body tissues are impacted 1-6 days following the presentation of visible clinical signs and treatment is less likely to succeed. Therefore, EEHV monitoring should consist of conducting regular polymerase chain reaction analysis of whole blood samples from at-risk, young Asian elephants aged 1-8 yr in order for subclinical viremia to be identified early and treatment to be started before the appearance of visible clinical signs. © Copyright 2016 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Atkins L.,Baylor College of Medicine | Zong J.-C.,Viral Oncology Program | Tan J.,Baylor College of Medicine | Mejia A.,Baylor College of Medicine | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause acute hemorrhagic disease with high mortality rates in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Recently, a new EEHV type known as EEHV5 has been described, but its prevalence and clinical significance remain unknown. In this report, an outbreak of EEHV5 infection in a herd of captive Asian elephants in a zoo was characterized. In February 2011, a 42-yr-old wild-born female Asian elephant presented with bilaterally swollen temporal glands, oral mucosal hyperemia, vesicles on the tongue, and generalized lethargy. The elephant had a leukopenia and thrombocytopenia. She was treated with flunixin meglumine, famciclovir, and fluids. Clinical signs of illness resolved gradually over 2 wk, and the white blood cell count and platelets rebounded to higher-than-normal values. EEHV5 viremia was detectable starting 1 wk before presentation and peaked at the onset of clinical illness. EEHV5 shedding in trunk secretions peaked after viremia resolved and continued for more than 2 mo. EEHV5 trunk shedding from a female herd mate without any detectable viremia was detected prior to onset of clinical disease in the 42-yr-old elephant, indicating reactivation rather than primary infection in this elephant. Subsequent EEHV5 viremia and trunk shedding was documented in the other five elephants in the herd, who remained asymptomatic, except for 1 day of temporal gland swelling in an otherwise-healthy 1-yr-old calf. Unexpectedly, the two elephants most recently introduced into the herd 40 mo previously shed a distinctive EEHV5 strain from that seen in the other five elephants. This is the first report to document the kinetics of EEHV5 infection in captive Asian elephants and to provide evidence that this virus can cause illness in some animals. Copyright 2013 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

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