Elephant Pox

Orthopoxvirus bovis

Elephant pox seems actually be a strain of normal cow pox, and is one of the most dangerous diseases for elephants. Most often, it is spread to the elephants from rodents. It is lethal, and was until vaccination programmes, responsible for the death of many elephants. (Kuntze and Janetzky, 1982; Pade et al., 1990).

Even when treated, an infection leads to an enormous suffer for the elephants, and should be avoided at any prize.

Several outbreaks were recorded from european Zoos during 1900, listed by Pilaski in 1989 and modified 1993: http://library.vetmed.fu-berlin.de/resources/global/contents/2684681/Wien_1999/Hentschke.pdf (Berlin 1960 and 1961, Leipzig 1960, Erfurt 1962, Magdeburg: 1971 and 1990, Liberec 1972, Amsterdam 1973, Laxenburg-Wien 1974, Ansbach 1975, Lodz 1977, Speyer 1979, Reutlingen 1979 and 1980, Hammeln 1980, Hamburg 1984, Berlin-Spandau 1986, Erfurt 1988, Wuppertal 1989, Dresden 1990, Erfurt 2000, Hannover 2001), the last ones possibly with origin from circuses, and since the elephants at european circuses are still not enough veterinary monitored, they may remain as a potential infection spreader. The latest recorded infections was:


In Europe, information about the pox, as well as vaccine, can be obtained from:

Institut for Medical Microbiology
Infectious and Epidemic Diseases
Veterinrstrasse 13
D-80539 Mnchen

Fax: +49 89 2180


Characterization of a pox virus strain isolated from an elephant.
Kubin, G.; Kolb, O.; Gerstl, F. Wien Tierarztl Monatsschr, 1975, v. 62 (6-8), p. 271-276.
Language: German with Summary in English.
NAL call no: 41.8 T345
Descriptors: pox virus, elephant, strain.

Elephants and their habitats: The ecology of elephants in North Bunyoro, Uganda.
Laws, R.M.; Parker, I.S.C.; Johnstone, R.C.B. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975, 376 p. ill. index, bibl.
NAL call no: QL737.P98L3
Descriptors: elephants, wildlife conservation, wildlife management.

Exungulation of all extremities in a female elephant in consequence of a smallpox infection.
Kuntze, A.; Burger, M.; Jancke, S.; Topfer, I. Monatsh Veterinarmed, Sept. 15, 1975, v. 30 (18), p. 703-705. ref.
Language: German with an English summary.
NAL call no: 41.8 M742
Descriptors: small pox, elephant, exungulation, feet.

14 Elephants associated with elephant smallpox.

OriginAgeBirthDeath dateParentsArrivalPresent or last Location
+ -Peggy-EM
wild years2000-11-00 x Circus Baldini (Zirkus Baldini )
+ -Monty-EM
wild years2000-11-00 x Circus Baldini (Zirkus Baldini )
+ -stillborn-EM
captive-born < 1 years1998-01-171998-01-17Ankhor (Angkor) x Kewa1998-01-17Tierpark Berlin
+ -Konga-LA
wild years1991 x Dresden Zoo
+ -Bombay-EM
wild 30 years19601990-08-01 x 1963-06-07Dresden Zoo
+ -unknown-EM
unknown 30 years1989 x Circus Barum
+ -unknown-EM
wild 30 years1989 x Circus Barum
+ -unknown-EM
unknown 30 years1989 x Circus Barum
+ -Kati-EM
wild 14 years19581972-01-02 x 1961-06-21Magdeburg Zoo
+ -Eutina-EM
unknown 13 years19591972 x 1961-00-00Circus Carl Althoff
+ -Sonja-EM
wild 15 years19561971-07-30 x 1960-10-07Magdeburg Zoo
+ -Con Voi Bon-EM
wild 23 years19371960-06-21 x 1959-10-07Leipzig Zoo
+ -Kiri-EM
wild 30 years19301960-05-24 x 1952-09-28Leipzig Zoo
+ -unknown-EM
unknown 30 years x Circus Barum

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