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M. tuberculosis in Asian Elephants, Thailand | CDC EID

EID Journal Home > Volume 16, Number 12–December 2010
Volume 16, Number 12–December 2010
Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection of Domesticated Asian Elephants, Thailand

Taweepoke Angkawanish, Worawidh Wajjwalku, Comments to Author Anucha Sirimalaisuwan, Sittidet Mahasawangkul, Thattawan Kaewsakhorn, Kittikorn Boonsri, and Victor P.M.G. Rutten
Author affiliations: National Elephant Institute, Forest Industry Organization, Lampang, Thailand (T. Angkawanish, S. Mahasawangkul); Kasetsart University, Nakhonpathom, Thailand (W. Wajjwalku); Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand (A. Sirimalaisuwan, T. Kaewsakhorn, K. Boonsri); Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands (T. Angkawanish, V.P.M.G. Rutten); and University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa (V.P.M.G. Rutten)

Suggested citation for this article

Four Asian elephants were confirmed to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis by bacterial culture, other diagnostic procedures, and sequencing of 16S–23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer region, 16S rRNA, and gyrase B gene sequences. Genotyping showed that the infectious agents originated from 4 sources in Thailand. To identify infections, a combination of diagnostic assays is essential.

During the past 2 decades, infections of captive African and Asian elephants with Mycobacterium bovis and M. tuberculosis have been diagnosed worldwide (1–4). Transmission of these infections to other mammals and veterinary personnel has also been observed (5). To date, M. tuberculosis infection has not been reported in elephants in Thailand. Four elephants referred to the National Elephant Institute (NEI) Hospital during 2005–2008, three of which showed signs of weakness and chronic weight loss, and 1 showed serous nasal discharge. Tuberculosis was confirmed by using conventional and molecular diagnostic assays.

M. tuberculosis in Asian Elephants, Thailand | CDC EID

Suggested Citation for this Article

Angkawanish T, Wajjwalku W, Sirimalaisuwan A, Mahasawangkul S, Kaewsakhorn T, Boonsri K, et al. Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection of domesticated Asian elephants, Thailand. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2010 Dec [date cited].

DOI: 10.3201/eid1612.100862

Comments to the Authors

Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Worawidh Wajjwalku, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kasetsart University, Nakhonpathom,
Thailand; email:

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