(The Monitor Daily, US) – On Friday, CDC has confirmed that 7 employees working for the Oregon Zoo have been infected with the lung debilitating disease. Zoo workers have been diagnosed with tuberculosis after handling several adult elephants.
According to CDC’s report, the zookeepers working with the elephants have contracted the disease somewhere in 2013. The elephants placed in the worker’s care had no previous signs of infection. However, during a routine screening that took place in 2013, several elephants have been found to be infected with tuberculosis.
The recently published report states that the 7 members working for the Oregon Zoo were infected with a latent form of TB, meaning that they were not contagious and asymptomatic.
CDC’s report was published just two days after a U.S court of law demanded certain documents regarding the situation of animals infected with TB at the Oregon Zoo. The Court demanded this report after PETA sued the Health and Human Services.
The ONG demanded that a case should be opened in the case of Health and Human Services after the health officials declared that zoo elephants may harbor deadly diseases which could spread to other animals and ultimately infect humans.
PETA dismissed the department’s statement and demanded that relevant documents should be presented to back up their affirmations.
Seven zoo workers have been diagnosed with tuberculosis during a routine check-up in 2013. After presenting all relevant data on the case, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the outbreak of TB was mostly due to the fact that health authorities do not possess much data on how tuberculosis affects elephants.
Moreover, CDC stresses out the fact that health officials should come up with other methods for testing animals for TB. Traditionally, culture tests are being employed to screen animals for disease. However, this method does have some limitations, because, in some cases, it can return false positive results.
According to the same report published by the CDC, nearly 5 percent of elephants raised in enclosures might be infected with this disease. Furthermore, it would seem that the disease can be transmitted from elephant to humans. This affirmation is backed up by a documented case of a human getting TB from an elephant, back in 1996.
After testing out all the elephants in the zoo, the members of the staff found out that Rama, a 20-year-old elephant tested positive for TB. The exam also revealed that two more elephants were infected with this disease.
Zoo workers have been diagnosed with tuberculosis after being exposed to several TB-infected elephants. According to CDC, it would seem that the animals have been infected in 2012 when another staff member brought the disease to the enclosures.