Update from the North American Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) Advisory Group and Summary of the 2019 EEHV Workshop
In March 2019, the Houston Zoo and Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) Advisory Group hosted the North American EEHV Workshop, which included >100 in-person and online attendees from North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. More than 30 lectures covered all aspects of EEHV, including advances in serologic detection of EEHV1A exposure; early steps in vaccine development; reports from the United States, Canada, Myanmar, and India; and the importance of EEHV training benchmarks in calves. In addition, an EEHV preparedness panel, clinical pathology laboratory, husbandry demonstrations, and EEHV practice drill were held. Very recent experiences with fatal EEHV hemorrhagic disease cases in African elephants also were shared with the group, leading to further discussion on how to approach EEHV monitoring and preparedness in African herds.
The EEHV Advisory Group was formed in North America in 2013. The advisory group’s mission is to decrease elephant deaths due to EEHV while supporting elephant holding institution programming by 1) disseminating knowledge of current best practices for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of EEHV; 2) providing private and public elephant-holding facilities with technical assistance; and 3) facilitating research by building international collaborations. The advisory group is a subset of the AZA Elephant Taxon Advisory Group and members are comprised of veterinarians, researchers, elephant management specialists, media specialists, and conservationists.
At the biennial EEHV Advisory Group meeting held at White Oak Conservation Center in August 2018, the advisory group was re-structured to better meet the needs of elephant-holding institutions. In addition to the existing steering committee, four subcommittees were formed, each with a committee chair. The outreach committee assists with updating the http://eehvinfo.org/ website, provides speaking points, and gives assistance to institutions with EEHV-related questions or needs. The research committee manages requests for support letters, maintains an EEHV-related research data-base, and the advisory group’s EEHV-related research priority list. The Veterinary and Management Resources Committee maintains and updates treatment, training, and necropsy recommendations. The Scientific Program Committee identifies hosts for the biennial North American EEHV Workshop and develops the scientific program, in conjunction with the host institution, as well as ensuring EEHV-focused representation at other key meetings. International liaisons from Europe, Asia, and Africa also were identified.