Endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus (EEHV) infection. The first PCR-confirmed fatal case in Asia

Vet Q. 2006 Jun;28(2):61-4. doi: 10.1080/01652176.2006.9695209.


Since 1995, 4 suspected cases of Endotheliotropic Elephant Herpes Virus (EEHV) infection, i.e. based on clinical presentation, have occurred in Asia without resulting in epidemic outbreaks as expected. In order to confirm the presence of EEHV on the continent of Asia, viral DNA particles from liver samples of a wild-caught 3-year-old elephant found dead at a Cambodian elephant sanctuary and clinically diagnosed with EEHV, were PCR processed using known EEHV strain primers. The presence of EEHV viral nucleic acids was confirmed and the nucleic acids had a 99% sequence similarity to the U.S.A strain (gene bank locus: AF117265) and 97% sequence similarity to the European strain (gene bank locus: AF354746) assigning this case to the EEHV-1 cluster. More than the confirmation of EEHV on the continent of Asia, is the phylogenic relationship to the USA and European strains with no corresponding contact or transport of USA or European elephants to Asia. Thus, this brings many of the traditional theories into question. Although almost forgotten, this disease is still ramped in captive elephant populations worldwide and continues to devastate particularly the neonatal and weaning-age population. Special attention and continued research are needed specifically in the area of basic virology and epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cambodia
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry
  • Elephants / virology*
  • Female
  • Herpesviridae / genetics
  • Herpesviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Herpesviridae Infections / pathology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary


  • DNA, Viral