Two elephants die from herpesvirus at Dublin Zoo

Two elephants die from herpesvirus at Dublin Zoo

Two elephants died from from Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) at Dublin Zoo in Ireland. Zinda, a 7-year-old Asian elephant, died on Sunday. Another young elephant, Avani, succumbed to the virus a week earlier.

Zinda’s condition deteriorated rapidly, the zoo said in a statement. EEHV is a highly lethal disease primarily affecting young elephants, particularly those under ten years old. This virus can cause severe hemorrhagic disease, leading to internal bleeding and organ failure.

The virus is often latent, meaning it can remain hidden within the elephant’s body and become active suddenly, making early detection challenging.

When symptoms do appear, they can progress rapidly, often leading to death within a short period. Research indicates that there are several genetically distinct strains of EEHV, with EEHV1A being the most common and deadly.

The virus has been a significant cause of death among captive Asian elephants, but it also affects wild populations. Antiviral treatments can sometimes be effective if administered early, but the success rate remains around 40%.

The zoo said that the other elephants are not showing signs of EEHV, but their health is being closely monitored.

In February, the two-year-old Asian elephant Tsuni died from EEHV at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium in the United States. In June 2023, Fitz, a 3-year-old elephant, succumbed to EEHV at Louisville Zoo in the US.

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