Bhubaneswar: A day after the death of a sick female elephant inside Banra Kuamada forest in Banki forest range in Cuttack district, experts of the Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) on Tuesday confirmed the death of the pachyderm due to the killer herpes virus.
Informing the media here, OUAT expert Sushen Panda said the post-mortem report has revealed that the female elephant was afflicted with herpes virus.
He further said that if a wild elephant in a herd is afflicted with herpes, it is most likely that the killer virus will be transmitted to other elephants, mostly the young. If an elephant carries herpes virus, it cannot stay with the herd as the virus affects either the skin or the pulmonary system. “The virus attacks endothelial cells, rupturing capillaries and causing blood loss and haemorrhage. Once the virus reaches the heart, the haemorrhage kills quickly through shock. The symptoms include lethargy and an unwillingness to eat, a rapid heartbeat and decreased blood-cell count, as well as cyanosis of the tongue, mouth ulcers, and oedema of the head and trunk,” he pointed out.
Panda said the Forest Department should immediately identify and treat these sick wild elephants to stop the further spread of the virus.
The ailing female elephant, found lying inside the forest on September 26, was undergoing treatment under the supervision of a team of OUAT veterinary doctors and an expert team from Assam. However, she succumbed to her illness on September 30.
Prior to the death of the female elephant, four elephants of Nandankanan Zoo had died of herpes recently.