COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced 13-year-old Asian Elephant, Beco, has tested positive for active Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus.
EEHV is a life-threatening health issue for some elephants living in the wild, sanctuaries and zoos worldwide. In severe EEHV cases, a high virus level in an elephant can cause progressive hemorrhagic or bleeding that can be fatal.
“Our teams, along with the support of other zoos and elephant experts, are working around the clock to provide him with the best care,” said the zoo on Facebook.
To share updates on Beco’s health, the zoo has started a blog with links to FAQs. Currently, Beco is receiving antiviral medication and other treatments.
The Columbus Zoo collaborates with several other North American zoos caring for elephants to actively support EEHV research to develop new treatments and a preventative vaccine.
“We do know that elephants, like most mammals, can carry different herpesviruses throughout their lives and usually those viruses remain hidden and do not cause illness,” said the zoo. “EEHV does not discriminate between zoo elephants and elephants in the wild. Whether it’s a calf at a zoo or the young of a herd in the wilds of Asia, EEHV can strike without any known causes or reason.”