African Horse Sickness in Elephants

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Viral Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names AHS

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Disease Agents
  • Nine serotypes of African horse sickness virus (AHSV) are known. (B101)
Infectious Agent(s) Reoviridae (Virus Family)
  • Genus Orbivirus: African horse sickness virus
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
  • African horse sickness is an insect-borne disease of equids. (B101)
  • All the virus serotypes are transmitted by Culicoides spp. midges. (B101)
  • The disease is seasonal and disappears between the insect vector seasons.(B101)
  • Clinical signs include pyrexia, inappetance and respiratory and cardiovascular signs, such as pulmonary and subcutaneous oedema, and haemorrhages. (B101)
  • The mortality rate in horses, the most susceptible species, may be high. (B101, J62.62.w1)
  • The disease occurs commonly in sub-Saharan Africa. (B101)

In Elephants:

Loxodonta africana - African Elephant

  • Complement-fixing antibodies against African horse sickness virus were found in an elephant from Northern Tanzania. (J3.100.w3)
  • Complement-fixing antibodies against African horse sickness virus were found in elephants from Zimbabwe. (J65.38.w1)
  • Specific neutralising antibodies to all nine different serotypes were found in elephants, among other wild animal species, from East Africa. (J238.31.w1)
  • In 1994, a study in Kruger National Park, South Africa, showed that Loxodonta africana - African Elephants may be frequently exposed to African horse sickness and may play a role in the epizootiology. (J62.61.w2)
  • Low levels of African horse sickness group- and type specific- antibodies have been found in the serum of some free range Loxodonta africana - African Elephants in 1995, in Kruger National Park, South Africa. According to this study's results, Loxodonta africana - African Elephant should be regarded as poorly susceptible and unlikely to be a source of African horse sickness virus. (J62.62.w1)
  • The experimental infection of six Loxodonta africana - African Elephants calves resulted in a slight increase of the ELISA titers following infection. However, neither viraemia, nor virus in the organs, could be demonstrated. (J62.62.w1)

Loxodonta cyclotis - Forest Elephant

  • Antibodies were detected in 15 of 16 elephants tested from Garamba National Park, north-eastern Zaire, 1992-1996. (P1.1997.w8)
Further Information --
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken).

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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