Fatal Encephalomyocarditis Virus Infection in an African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta Africana) in a French Zoo


Lamglait, B; Joris, A; Romey, A; Bakkali-Kassimi, L; Lemberger, K  JOURNAL OF ZOO AND WILDLIFE MEDICINE

Date Published
A fatal case of encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) involving an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) occurred in November 2013 at the Reserve Africaine de Sigean, France. An adult female was found dead without any preliminary symptoms. Gross pathologic changes consisted of petechiae and hemorrhages on mucosae and internal organs, abundant transudate in the abdominal and pericardial cavities, and myocarditis. Histopathologic examination showed extensive degeneration and necrosis of ventricular cardiomyocytes with concurrent lymphoplasmocytic and eosinophilic infiltrate. An EMCV was isolated from several organs and considered the causative agent of the myocarditis. The same strain of virus was also isolated in rodents captured on zoo premises and considered to be the reservoir of the virus. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first EMCV case in a captive African elephant in Europe.