CZAAWE Resource Article

Tuberculosis in Elephants in North America
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Within the past 4 years, tuberculosis (TB) has emerged as a disease of concern in elephants. The population of elephants in North America is declining [Wiese, 1997], and transmissible diseases such as TB may exacerbate this trend. Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants, which require the screening of all elephants for TB, were instituted in 1997 [USDA, 1997; 2000]. Between August 1996 and May 2000, Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated from 18 of 539 elephants in North America, indicating an estimated prevalence of 3.3%. Isolation of the TB organism by culture is the currently recommended test to establish a diagnosis of TB; however, culture requires 8 weeks. Further research is essential to validate other diagnostic tests and treatment protocols.