Group focuses expertise, resources on goal to end EEHV-caused elephant deaths
Zoos, researchers take aim at deadly herpes virus posing global threat to elephants
COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 4, 2023 — Racing to protect elephants from the deadly elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV), the North American EEHV Advisory Group prepared a multipronged strategy to advance knowledge sharing, prevention, rapid response, and treatment, uniting global collaborations to fight the virus.
The 35-member Advisory Group developed the new strategies during a three-day meeting at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on July 31-Aug. 2. The international group is composed of professionals in veterinary medicine, research, elephant care and outreach who are committed to advising and supporting collaborations to prevent elephant deaths from EEHV globally. The virus causes a life-threatening disease in young Asian and African elephants and can be deadly to wild elephants and those under human care.
Actions by the EEHV Advisory Group, along with researchers and accredited zoos and other facilities with elephants, are advancing the understanding of the virus and support work toward a vaccine. As a result of ongoing efforts, several young elephants have survived the disease because of early detection and interventive treatments. However, 17 elephants in North America, mostly juveniles, have died of EEHV in the last 10 years, and the virus remains a threat to sustaining elephant populations.
Sponsors of the Advisory Group strategy meeting are Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Colossal Biosciences, Houston Zoo, Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, and the Elephant Managers Association.
The Advisory Group is planning future EEHV workshops and symposiums that engage elephant experts and advocates globally in work toward EEHV-solutions.
Established in 2014, the EEHV Advisory Group has a mission to be at the forefront of EEHV knowledge, advancing best practices for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of EEHV. It provides hope and a path forward for elephants and the people who care for them. For more information, visit https://eehvinfo.org.
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