Subclinical infection of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Thailand with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus

  • Supaphen SripiboonEmail author
  • William Ditcham
  • Rebecca Vaughan-Higgins
  • Bethany Jackson
  • Ian Robertson
  • Chatchote Thitaram
  • Taweepoke Angkawanish
  • Sakuna Phatthanakunanan
  • Preeda Lertwatcharasarakul
  • Kristin Warren
Brief Report


Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) infection is a conservation threat to the endangered Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), causing fatal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile elephants throughout the world, including Thailand. This study revealed a subclinical EEHV1 infection rate of 5.5% in healthy captive Asian elephants in Thailand (n = 362). The virus was detected in all age classes above one year old, in both sexes, and across the country – even in facilities with no history of hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD). Subclinical EEHV infection in Thailand urgently requires proper health management.



The authors thank veterinarians and staff from the National Elephant Institute, Lampang; National Institute of Elephant Research and the Health Service, Surin; Zoological Park Organization of Thailand, Bangkok; Center for Elephant and Wildlife Research, Chiang Mai; and private elephant camps for assisting with sample collection.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was supported by Kasetsart University Veterinary Diagnostic Center, Thailand.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All sample collection procedures were approved by Murdoch University’s Animal Ethic Committee (Permit No. R2582/13) and the elephant’s owner.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Supaphen Sripiboon
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • William Ditcham
    • 1
  • Rebecca Vaughan-Higgins
    • 1
  • Bethany Jackson
    • 1
  • Ian Robertson
    • 1
  • Chatchote Thitaram
    • 2
  • Taweepoke Angkawanish
    • 3
  • Sakuna Phatthanakunanan
    • 4
  • Preeda Lertwatcharasarakul
    • 4
  • Kristin Warren
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  2. 2.Center of Elephant and Wildlife Research, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.National Elephant InstituteLampangThailand
  4. 4.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineKasetsart UniversityNakhon PathomThailand

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