Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Wild Asian Elephants, Southern India

Emerg Infect Dis. 2017 Mar;23(3):504-506. doi: 10.3201/eid2303.161741.


We tested 3 ild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in southern India and confirmed infection in 3 animals with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an obligate human pathogen, by PCR and genetic sequencing. Our results indicate that tuberculosis may be spilling over from humans (reverse zoonosis) and emerging in wild elephants.

Keywords: Elephas maximus; India; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; PCR; bacteria; elephant; genetic sequencing; tuberculosis; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild*
  • Elephants*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis / veterinary*