Why Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus has become a cause of concern?

India has reported the first deaths due to Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV). The death of four elephants at the Nandan Kanan Zoo of Odisha is the first reported cases of EEHV-related deaths in an India.

How Virus Works?

The EEHV is a type of herpesvirus that can cause a highly fatal haemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants.n When EEHV is triggered, the elephant dies of massive internal bleeding and symptoms which are hardly visible.

Why it is a cause of concern?

  • There is no true cure for herpesviruses in animals or in humans.
  • The disease has a short course of 28-35 hours and is usually accompanied by fatality. As a result, one has to take a very quick call on a suspected EEHV case and kick off treatment protocols.
  • The forest department of Odisha is worried about the virus spreading to elephants in the wild. It is extremely difficult to track down every wild elephant and test whether they are positive for EEHV.

Tackling EEHV

The Central Zoo Authority has decided to set up a national committee of scientists from Guwahati, Kerala, Indian Veterinary Research Institute and Nandan Kanan Zoo authorities to develop protocols for the country lest an EEHV outbreak occurs elsewhere in the future.


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