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Third Oregon Zoo elephant has TB

The Oregon Zoo has confirmed tuberculosis in a third elephant.

Veterinarians are preparing to begin an 18-month treatment regimen for Tusko, the 44-year-old male Asian elephant. An earlier test indicated the possibility of infection.

“This is not unexpected following the preliminary results,” said zoo veterinarian Tim Storms. “We’ve been moving forward under the assumption that Tusko does have TB, and we plan to start treatment immediately to help ensure he doesn’t get sick. He is showing no signs of illness, which is not unusual when an infection is caught early. It’s one advantage of consistently testing our elephants, which is part of their extensive healthcare program.”

The other two elephants are Packy, a 52-year-old male, and Rama, his 30-year-old son. Zoo officials say they are not showing symptoms.

The zoo’s four female elephants and 5-year-old male Samudra have all tested negative.