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Tuberculosis Passed From Zoo Elephants to People: CDC
People can get tuberculosis from infected captive elephants when they have long-term, close contact with the animals, a new study suggests.
In early 2013, an Asian bull elephant at a zoo in Multnomah County, Ore., tested positive for active tuberculosis, and the disease was later found in two other bull elephants.
Officials also tested 96 people who had contact with the three elephants and found that seven of those who had extensive contact with the animals had latent tuberculosis, which means they had no symptoms and were not infectious.
The three elephants were isolated and treated to prevent them from infecting other animals and people, and the seven affected people were offered treatment.
The findings show that captive elephants are a potential source of tuberculosis infection in people who have long-term, close contact with infected animals. Improved understanding of how the disease is transmitted between elephants and humans is needed to determine ways to reduce the risk of infection, the researchers said.
The study appears in the Jan. 8 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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