Understanding the Endotheliotropic Elephant Herpes Virus: Key Insights for Preventing and Treating Diseases

Title: Mahidol University’s Pathology Research Aims to Protect Baby Elephants from Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus Hemorrhagic Disease (EEHV HD)

Heading: Understanding the Mechanisms of Disease for Effective Prevention and Treatment

Education | September 19, 2023 | 22:02

The study of pathology plays a crucial role in uncovering disease mechanisms, enabling the development of targeted treatments and prevention strategies. By understanding the structural and functional changes within human and animal systems, researchers can create a roadmap for combating various diseases.

An alarming example of a disease affecting baby elephants is endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD), which claims the lives of many young elephants each year. Although a vaccine is currently unavailable, efforts are being made to halt the spread of this deadly virus.

Dr. Pochana Wattananit, a veterinarian and Head of the Department of Clinical Medicine and Public Health at Mahidol University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, explains that while EEHV HD is caused by viruses from the Herpes Virus family, it affects different species within the elephant population. Therefore, it does not transmit between humans and animals, or even between animals themselves. In humans, the virus manifests as herpes or sexually transmitted infections, whereas infected baby elephants face a high risk of mortality.

Recent findings from a retrospective study conducted by Thailand’s EEHV Task Force indicate that untreated baby elephants with EEHV HD have a 60-70% chance of dying. These young elephants initially display non-specific symptoms, such as changes in behavior, stiff leg movements, lethargy, reduced appetite, and progressively worsen over time. Severe symptoms include facial swelling, a purple tongue, fever, bloody diarrhea, and multiple organ failure leading to death.

To improve the chances of survival for elephant calves, it is crucial to closely monitor their well-being and promptly seek veterinary assistance. Economic challenges faced by mahouts (elephant caretakers) have contributed to an increase in EEHV HD cases, emphasizing the need for support and effective management.

One key factor influencing the spread of EEHV HD is immune deficiency in baby elephants. Natural immunity is typically acquired during pregnancy through the placenta and after birth through nursing, particularly via colostrum. If a baby elephant is separated from its mother too early or undergoes sudden environmental changes, its vulnerability to the EEHV virus significantly increases, potentially leading to the development of EEHV HD.

Early detection and treatment are essential for managing this disease. Mahidol University’s Professor Dr. Pochana Wattananit highlights the challenge of vaccine production due to the virus’s cultivation limitations, which hinder comprehensive knowledge about the disease mechanism. However, Thai scientists have successfully identified target cells and explored the pathogenesis of EEHV HD, enabling veterinarians to provide more precise treatments.

Mahidol University, guided by its commitment to the “Wisdom of the Land,” aims to support all sectors involved in safeguarding Thai baby elephants from EEHV HD. This includes not only providing information but also advancing research to develop vaccines for future prevention.

The study of pathology, alongside other related scientific disciplines such as biology, anatomy, physiology, and ecology, remains crucial in comprehending and controlling various diseases. Mahidol University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine offers a pioneering master’s degree program in zoo and wildlife health management, positioning itself as a key player in protecting baby Thai elephants and ensuring they thrive until the “Elephant Star” stage of their lives.

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Source: Mahidol University

Education 19 September 2023 22:022023-09-19

The study of “pathology” (Pathology) to understand “disease mechanisms” is the key to creating a map for finding treatment and preventing diseases. From understanding changes in the structure and function of systems within the human and animal bodies.

Similar to endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) which kills baby elephants at about half the rate each year. Although there is currently no vaccine to prevent the spread of this virus.

Lecturer Dr. Pochana Wattananit, Veterinarian, Head of the Department of Clinical Medicine and Public Health Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Mahidol University said that endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) in baby elephants, although caused by viruses in the Herpes Virus family, is also in the species group. or different species

Therefore, it has different effects on humans and animals. and is not transmitted from “animals to humans” or “people to animals” as well as from “animals to animals”, which in humans can manifest as symptoms of “herpes” or sexually transmitted infections (virus Herpes simplex), but in “Baby Elephant” If infected with the EEHV virus, it can spread to death. There are more reports of this disease in “Asian elephants” than “African elephants” and the EEHV virus which causes disease in the two types of elephants is a different subgroup.

From a retrospective study of the Thai team of the EEHV Task Force, it was found that “baby elephants” who were sick with Elephant Virus Disease Endotheliotropic herpesvirus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) have a 60 – 70% chance of death if left untreated promptly.

The baby elephant can show non-specific symptoms at first and can start to change behaviour, walk with stiff legs, be lethargic, eat less, until the symptoms become severe. There is often a swollen face. purple tongue with fever Bloody diarrhea until the symptoms worsened, the heart and various organs in the body failed and eventually died

The chance of “survival” of the “elephant calf” requires close observation of the condition of the “mahout”. In the past, it was found from the COVID-19 crisis, that the “mahout” faced economic problems and had to change. occupation It has a significant impact on the increase in the number of cases of EEHV HD virus infection.

An important factor causing the spread of endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) is “immune deficiency” where “calf elephants” will receive “natural immunity” from “mother elephants” during pregnancy through the Placenta and after birth through milk, especially “colostrum” during the first days after giving birth.

If the “baby elephant” is separated from its “mother elephant” too quickly and if the “baby elephant” is not strong from a little rest. or the environment changes suddenly After exposure to the EEHV virus, there is a high chance that the baby elephant will become ill from this virus and develop EEHV HD.

However, this disease can be treated. If treatment is received in the early stages of infection, it is important that the “mahout” and the “elephant owner” monitor symptoms. And notify the vet in time before the symptoms become so widespread that they are difficult to correct.

Professor Dr Pochana Wattananit, a veterinarian, went on to say that Thailand is currently still unable to produce a vaccine against endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) in “baby elephants” partly due to the inability to cultivate that virus itself, leading to a lack of knowledge that will lead to study. ■ The mechanism of such disease is comprehensive.

However, in the past Thai scientists have been successful in their research and have been able to discover “Cell Target” or target cells. Including the pathogenesis of endotheliotropic elephant herpesvirus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD), allowing Thai veterinarians to treat baby elephants with greater precision.

Mahidol University ready to do the duty of “Wisdom of the Land” according to the desire of Mahidol University Provide information to support all sectors that will help to care for baby Thai elephants to be safe from Elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD), including produce vaccines to prevent future EEHV HD virus disease.

This requires important basic knowledge as well as pathology. It is still necessary to study other sciences. related subjects such as biology, anatomy, physiology, ecology, etc. to understand and control diseases

Mahidol University by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine This is the first in Thailand to offer a master’s degree program in zoo and wildlife health management. and ready to be an important force in creating research Protect baby Thai elephants from reaching the “Elephant Star” prematurely.

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Source: Mahidol University

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