Detection of subclinical EEHV infection in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Peninsular Malaysia through a molecular approach

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Millawati Gani
Kayal Vizi Karuppannan
Mohd Firdaus Ariff Abdul Razak
Ahmad Azhar Mohammed


Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) is a highly destructive viral disease affecting both Asian and African elephants, posing a threat in captivity and the wild. Despite habitat loss, poaching, and human-elephant conflict being major concerns, EEHV emerges as a significant threat to elephant species' long-term survival. Until now, no reported cases of EEHV have been documented in Malaysia, particularly in Peninsular Malaysia. This raises questions about whether the absence of report is due to the virus's actual absence or a lack of awareness. Wildlife disease surveillance programmed initiated EEHV screening in Asian elephant at National Elephant Conservation Centre (PKGK) which one of establish ex-situ facilities for elephant conservation in Peninsular Malaysia. Molecular detection approach by utilizing polymerase chain reaction amplification targeting polymerase U38 gene region revealed 12 individuals out of 33 captive Asian elephants was found EEHV-positive, spanning ages from 2 months to 15 years and both sexes. Phylogenetic analysis revealed distinct EEHV subtypes identified in this this study. Despite being EEHV-positive, the captive Asian elephants displayed good health, indicating asymptomatic infections of EEHV1A, EEHV4, and EEHV5. This marks the initial identification of EEHV and subclinical infections in captive elephants in Peninsular Malaysia, emphasizing the need for urgent and enhanced health care management to safeguard these magnificent animals in Peninsular Malaysia for better conservation management strategies in the future.

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Gani, M., Karuppannan, K. V. ., Abdul Razak, M. F. A., & Mohammed, A. A. . (2024). Detection of subclinical EEHV infection in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Peninsular Malaysia through a molecular approach: Veterinary Integrative Sciences, 22(3), 1113–1125. Retrieved from
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