2-year-old Asian elephant in East China’s Jinan dies of EEHV
Published: May 05, 2023 03:05 PM
Asian elephant Ya Qi Photo: WeChat account of Jinan Zoo

Asian elephant Ya Qi Photo: WeChat account of Jinan Zoo

The Jinan Zoo, located in East China's Shandong Province, confirmed that a 2-year-old Asian elephant in the zoo had died of infection of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV).

The elephant Ya Qi was born on June 14, 2020. Ya Qi got sudden illness on March 13 that led to hemorrhage of multiple organs throughout the body. The elephant died after all-out treatment failed, according to the zoo.

Investigation by professional institutes confirmed that the cause to the death of Ya Qi was infection of EEHV, the zoo announced on Thursday.

According to media reports, EEHV is the leading cause of death in Asian elephants. EEHV Hemorrhagic Disease (EEHV-HD) has a rapid progression and death can occur within hours after the first signs of illness are observed.

This EEHV can lie dormant in the host body. When it does not attack, the host will show no symptoms and it is difficult to detect the virus through blood tests. However, when it attacks, it can circulate in the blood, causing elephants to bleed and even die. As there is currently no vaccine against the virus, it is life-threatening to both captive and wild elephants, especially juvenile elephants with relatively low immunity, according to media reports.

The EEHV has been discovered in countries where Asian elephants inhabit including India, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia. It was found for the first time in captive and wild Asian elephant populations in China in March 2022. 

In November 2022, another Asian elephant Na Ji Ya, born in March 2019, died of EEHV-HD in the Shijiazhuang Zoo in North China's Hebei Province. 

Global Times