Oregon Zoo elephant 'Shine' tests positive for tuberculosis - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Zoo elephant 'Shine' tests positive for tuberculosis

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Veterinarians are preparing a treatment regimen for Sung-Surin, a 34-year-old Asian elephant at the Oregon Zoo. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo. Veterinarians are preparing a treatment regimen for Sung-Surin, a 34-year-old Asian elephant at the Oregon Zoo. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Another elephant has tested positive for tuberculosis at the Oregon Zoo.

The zoo reported that preliminary test results show Sung-Surin, a 34-year-old Asian elephant, is positive for the disease.

Veterinarians are preparing to start Sung-Surin – whose name is Thai for "sunshine" and is most often simply called "Shine" – on an appropriate treatment regimen.

Zoo staff said Shine has shown no signs of illness and is otherwise in good health.

Packy, Rama and Tusko tested positive for tuberculosis during routine screenings in 2013.

Rama and Tusko were successfully treated, according to the Oregon Zoo, but Packy was euthanized in February.

Zookeepers said Packy had an intolerance for isoniazid, which is one of the essential first-line tuberculosis medications. Packy's advanced age, unpredictable musth cycles and reluctance to accept oral medications were also factors that led to the decision to euthanize the iconic 55-year-old elephant.

Rama, the 31-year-old son of Packy, was euthanized in March 2015 due to a leg injury that occurred 25 years earlier. Tusko was also put down in December 2015 at the age of 45 due to a decades-old leg injury, according to zookeepers.

No other elephants in the herd have tested positive and Shine will be kept away from the others during the initial phase of treatment.

All the elephants will be tested again and will continue to be monitored for any physical or behavioral changes.

The zoo regularly tests all its elephants for tuberculosis by taking trunk-wash samples – collecting fluid from the trunk and sending it to a certified laboratory for testing – as part of its comprehensive health program.

“Getting these kinds of results early is critical for effective treatment,” said Dr. Tim Storms, the zoo’s lead veterinarian. “Shine has not shown any signs of illness, and with the proper medical care we’re optimistic that she never will. Our elephant-care team has great relationships with her, and that should be very helpful throughout the treatment process.”

Zoo workers said public health authorities were notified immediately about the test results and there is no risk to Oregon Zoo visitors. 

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