Treatment for active tuberculosis in giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) in a Zoo and potential consequences for public health – Case report
More details
Hide details
Department of Microbiology, National Veterinary Research Institute, Pulawy, Poland
Department of Microbiology, National Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases Research Institute, Warsaw, Poland
Pope John Paul II State School of Higher Education, Biala Podlaska, Poland
Corresponding author
Monika Krajewska-Wędzina   

Department of Microbiology, National Veterinary Research Institute, Pulawy, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2018;25(4):593-595
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an infectious disease that occurs in many species of both domestic and free-ranging animals, as well as animals kept in zoos. According to the Polish regulations, cattle tuberculosis are slaughtered and microbiological examinations are performed, the rest of animal species can be treated and laboratory diagnostics are not obligatory.

Case report:
The presented case concerns two male giraffes which were purchased by the zoo and united with a third male. After a year, the oldest male died. Post mortem examinations confirmed generalized tuberculosis. After a further six months, the second male was euthanized after suffering great pain. The material for the study of drug resistance was a swab from the nose, obtained ante mortem from the third male. Attempted treatments did not produce the expected results. Genotyping allowed the exclusion of a common source of transmission.

The final effect of the anti-tuberculosis therapy in the male giraffe raises the question whether the research team should have undertaken the treatment of the animal with active tuberculosis.

Rodriguez-Campos S, Smith NH, Boniotti MB, Aranaz A. Overview and phylogeny of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex organisms: implication for diagnostics and legislation of bovine tuberculosis. Res Vet Sci. 2014; 97: S5-S19.
Caminiti A, Pelone F, LaTorre G, De Giusti M, Saulle R, Mannocci A, et al. Control and eradication of tuberculosis in cattle: a systematic review of economic evidence. Vet Rec. 2016; 179(3): 70-75.
Lipiec M, Pilaszek J. Instrukcja laboratoryjnej diagnostyki gruźlicy bydlęcej. Zakład Mikrobiologii Państwowego Instytutu Weterynaryjnego – Państwowego Instytutu Badawczego. Puławy, 2007.
Augustynowicz-Kopeć E, Krajewska M, Zabost A, Napiórkowska A, Zwolska Z. Characterization of Mycobacterium bovis strains isolated from farm and wild animals in Poland. Bull Vet Inst Pulawy 2011; 55: 381-383.
Kalicki M, Krajewska M. Case of tuberculosis in a Deffasa Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus deffasa). Med Weter. 2011; 67(7): 499-500.
Krajewska M, Zabost A, Welz M, Lipiec M, Orłowska B, Anusz K, Brewczyński P, Augustynowicz-Kopeć E, Szulowski K, Bielecki W, Weiner M. Transmission of Mycobacterium caprae in a herd of European bison in the Bieszczady Mountains, Southern Poland. Eur J Wildlife Res. 2015, 61, 429-433.
Lewerin SS, Olsson SL, Eld K, Röken B, Ghebremichael S, Koivula T, Källenius G, Bölske G. Outbreak of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection among captive Asian elephants in a Swedish zoo. Vet Rec. 2005; 156(6): 171-175.
Mikota KS, Larsen RS, Montali RJ. Tuberculosis in elephants in North America. Zoo Biology 2000; 19: 393-403.https:/;2-t.
Pavlik I, Machackova M, Yayo Ayele W, Lamka J, Parmova I, Melicharek I, et al. Incidence of bovine tuberculosis in wild and domestic animals other than cattle in six Central European countries during 1990-1999. Vet Med. 2002; 5:122-131.
Mycobacterium bovis Spoligotype Database,
Napiórkowska A, Zwolska Z, Augustynowicz-Kopeć E. Resistance to pyrazinamide among Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains isolated from patients from the Mazowian Voivodeship in 2008 – 2010 years. Post N Med. 2011; 24(10): 819-823.
Mikota SK, Peddie L, Peddie J, Isaza R, Dunker F, West G, et al. Epidemiology and diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). J Zoo Wildlife Med 2001; 32: 291-303.
Zhu M, Maslow JN, Mikota SK, Isaza R, Dunker F, Riddle H, Peloquin CA. Population pharmacokinetics of pyrazinamide in elephants. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2005; 28: 403-409.
Brock PA, Isaza R, Egelund EF, Hunter RP, Peloquin CA. The pharmacokinetics of a single oral or rectal dose of concurrently administered isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). J Vet Pharmacol Ther 2014; 37: 472-479.
Dagg AI. Girraffe: biology, behavior and conservation. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 2014.
Aprea F, Taylor PM, Routh A, Field D, Flach E, Bouts T. Spinal cord injury during recovery from anaesthesia in a giraffe. Vet Rec. 2011; 169: 50.
Cardona PJ, Ruiz-Manzano J. On the nature of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-latent bacilli. Eur Respir J. 2004; 24: 1044-1051.
Cardona PJ. New insights on the nature of latent tuberculosis infection and its treatment. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2007; 6: 27-39.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,
Müller DW, Zerbe P, Codron D, Clauss M, Hatt JM.. A long life among ruminants: giraffids and other special cases. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 2011; 153(11): 515-519.
European Association of Zoos and Aquaria – EAZA,
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top