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Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus

Information For Elephant Holding Facilities

Extensive viral DNA sequencing analysis carried out over many years primarily at the National Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory and Johns Hopkins Laboratory Group has revealed a great deal of genetic variability amongst the herpesviruses that infect Asian and African elephants. This variability occurs at three distinct levels (Genus, Species and Strain). Information about individual viral genomes comes predominantly from DNA samples extracted from viremic blood and necropsy tissue collected from numerous elephant calves with hemorrhagic disease. However, some data also comes from virus-positive lung nodules and skin biopsies, as well as occasionally from routine blood samples and trunk washes of latently infected, but otherwise healthy elephants that are undergoing low level systemic primary infection or secondary reactivated infections. Selected fragments of viral DNA are amplified by a process known as polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) and the order of A, C, G and T nucleotides along the DNA molecules are then read off from a special sequencing gel profile and compared by computer techniques with all other known herpesvirus DNA sequences.

Instructions for Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) Sample Submission Click here

Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV) is killing baby elephants.  JP was just 3 ½ years old when he died from EEHV.  This insidious, elephant-specific disease has a mortality rate estimated between 80 and 90% and has been the cause of death of approximately 25% of the Asian elephants born in North America since 1978.  It usually strikes when the calves are between 1 and 4 years old.  They most often succumb within 24 to 72 hours of showing the first symptoms.  Various strains of the virus are found in Asian and African elephants in human care as well as in wild populations. There is no known cure or vaccine.


JP & Rosie
JP was the fourth baby elephant to be born at Have Trunk Will Travel Ranch. He was named in honor of our dear friend and veterinarian, Dr. Jim Peddie. Rosie was not able to conceive naturally, so JP’s birth was achieved through artificial insemination. His birth was nothing short of a miracle to us and a testament to the elephant and veterinary communities that worked together to give him life.
JP’s endless energy and enthusiasm was a source of delight for his Mom, Rosie, and adoring aunties, Tai, Becky, Kitty and Dixie. We humans were blessed to have witnessed the affection, interaction and especially the wild playtime that JP inspired in all of them.Our elephant herd participates in an ongoing EEHV research project conducted by the National Elephant Herpes Virus Laboratory at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. JP had been donating serum for this research throughout his entire lifetime. Upon his death, blood and tissue samples were collected to gain desperately needed information for the studies and research projects working toward the answers and solutions to keep other baby elephants alive and healthy.
JP & Tai

The loss of JP has inspired us to redouble our efforts to wipe out this deadly disease. We are committed to continuing to aid in EEHV research projects. We will work to help raise urgently needed funding for EEHV research through the International Elephant Foundation to support the important work being done by:

National Elephant Herpes Virus Laboratory at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Baylor College of Medicine
New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University
Johns Hopkins University

You can help save baby elephants.  Donations to fund EEHV research, laboratories and studies will be collected and distributed through The International Elephant Foundation (IEF)

Click here to donate.

(Your donation is tax deductible.  IEF is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization, CFC # 11020)

Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc. www.havetrunkwilltravel.com