Use of famciclovir for the treatment of endotheliotrophic herpesvirus infections in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)

J Zoo Wildl Med. 2000 Dec;31(4):518-22. doi: 10.1638/1042-7260(2000)031[0518:UOFFTT]2.0.CO;2.


Two juvenile Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) presented with an acute onset of facial edema and lethargy. Examination of the oral cavity of each animal revealed cyanosis of the tip and distal margins of the tongue suggestive of endothelial inclusion body disease (EIBD) of elephants. Whole-blood samples were obtained, and polymerase chain reaction tests confirmed the presence of elephant herpesvirus. The animals were administered famciclovir (Famvir, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101, USA), a potent human anti-herpesvirus drug, in the course of their disease, and recovery followed a treatment regime of 3-4 wk. These are the first known cases of elephants surviving EIBD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • 2-Aminopurine / analogs & derivatives
  • 2-Aminopurine / therapeutic use*
  • Animal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Edema / complications
  • Edema / veterinary
  • Elephants*
  • Famciclovir
  • Female
  • Herpesviridae Infections / complications
  • Herpesviridae Infections / drug therapy
  • Herpesviridae Infections / pathology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tongue / pathology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • 2-Aminopurine
  • Famciclovir