Asian elephant at Saint Louis Zoo tests positive for Tuberculosi - KMOV.com

Asian elephant at Saint Louis Zoo tests positive for Tuberculosis

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Ellie (Credit: Saint Louis Zoo / Facebook) Ellie (Credit: Saint Louis Zoo / Facebook)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – An Asian elephant at the Saint Louis Zoo has tested positive for Tuberculosis.

Forty-six-year-old Ellie was diagnosed through a combination of blood tests and a trunk culture, which are a part of the zoo’s regular veterinary care.

“Because the Saint Louis Zoo is dedicated to caring for animals, our established protocols have allowed us to detect this early and take necessary steps for Ellie,” said the Zoo’s Director of Animal Health, Dr. Luis Padilla. “Elephants with tuberculosis can be treated. Ellie has a professional and caring team devoted to her health and well-being, and together we are developing an individualized treatment plan for her.” 

According to the zoo, Ellie, who came to the zoo in 2001 at age 29, is not showing any symptoms. The zoo’s elephant care team plans to begin treating her with antibiotics and keep her with her family to maintain social support while undergoing veterinary care.

Tuberculosis occasionally occurs in elephants and can be treated successfully, according to the zoo. Between 2011 and 2012, the zoo diagnosed and successfully treated another elephant, Donna, for Tuberculosis. The zoo says they continue to monitor Donna.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and local agencies have been informed of Ellie’s test results.

The zoo said Ellie does not pose an exposure risk to zoo visitors.  

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