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  • Author or Editor: Richard J. Montali x
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In 1990, a high prevalence of Shigella flexneri was documented in the gibbon population at the National Zoological Park. The enzootic strain had been determined to be resistant to most antibiotics and had been responsible for animal deaths. Prevalence of Shigella spp was high in the entire primate population. To address the clinical problem, eradication was attempted by use of enrofloxacin. Facilities disinfection comprised a large part of Shigella clearance efforts. After the clearance protocol was completed gibbons, vs other primate species, were closely monitored for 16 months by subjecting their feces to bacteriologic culturing.

The program was successful, with eradication of the problematic strain of S flexneri. However, 10 to 12 months after completion of treatments, S sonnei was isolated from feces of 3 animals living in the same housing facility.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


An epidemiologic study of shigellosis was the preliminary step in the formulation of a plan for the control of devastating infectious diseases in nonhuman primates at the National Zoological Park. Data were collected from primate groups with enzootic shigellosis and included the following species: white-cheeked and siamang gibbons (Hylobates concolor and H syndactylies); lion-tailed, celebes, and Barbary macaques (Macaca silenus, M nigera, and M sylvanus); black and white colobus monkeys (Colobus guerzea); grey-cheeked mangabeys (Cerecocebus albigena); spider monkeys (Ateles susciceps robusuts); ruffed lemurs (Lemur varrigatus); lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla); and orangutans (pongo pygmaeus). Data included results of physical examination, proctoscopy with biopsy, fecal parasitologic and cytologic examinations, and bacteriologic culturing of swabbed specimens of rectum and gingiva. Repetitive fecal examinations were subsequently performed and included bacteriologic culturing of fecal specimens for enteropathogenic bacteria and parasites and cytologic examination of feces. Data were collected for a 1-year period from 82 primates, and 14 gibbons were studied intensively. White-cheeked and siamang gibbons shed Shigella flexneri sporadically, but persistently. All gibbons were affected with a mean point prevalence of 30.7% (range 0 to 71%). Shigella flexneri also was isolated from feces of lion-tailed macaques. Shigella sonnei was isolated from feces of grey-cheeked mangabeys, celebes macaques, and spider monkeys. Of 180 colonic mucosal biopsy specimens from 60 primates, 3 contained Shigella spp. Most S flexneri isolates were serotype Y.

Our findings substantiated that enzootic shigellosis was more widespread at the National Zoological Park than signs of disease and results of a few bacteriologic cultures suggested. Those primate species affected were pinpointed, and the heterogeneity of Shigella spp involved was elucidated. Supportive diagnostic techniques were investigated and an unconventional protocol for performing bacteriologic culturing of fecal specimens was found useful in decreasing false-negative results. Epidemiologic findings and shedding patterns defined appropriateness of clinical management options.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine plasma pharmacokinetics of penciclovir following oral and rectal administration of famciclovir to young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

Animals—6 healthy Asian elephants (5 females and 1 male), 4.5 to 9 years old and weighing 1,646 to 2,438 kg.

Procedures—Famciclovir was administered orally or rectally in accordance with an incomplete crossover design. Three treatment groups, each comprising 4 elephants, received single doses of famciclovir (5 mg/kg, PO, or 5 or 15 mg/kg, rectally); there was a minimum 12-week washout period between subsequent famciclovir administrations. Serial blood samples were collected after each administration. Samples were analyzed for famciclovir and penciclovir with a validated liquid chromatography–mass spectroscopy assay.

Results—Famciclovir was tolerated well for both routes of administration and underwent complete biotransformation to the active metabolite, penciclovir. Mean maximum plasma concentration of penciclovir was 1.3 μg/mL at 1.1 hours after oral administration of 5 mg/kg. Similar results were detected after rectal administration of 5 mg/kg. Mean maximum plasma concentration was 3.6 μg/mL at 0.66 hours after rectal administration of 15 mg/kg; this concentration was similar to results reported for humans receiving 7 mg/kg orally.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Juvenile Asian elephants are susceptible to elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus. Although most infections are fatal, case reports indicate administration of famciclovir has been associated with survival of 3 elephants. In Asian elephants, a dose of 8 to 15 mg of famciclovir/kg given orally or rectally at least every 8 hours may result in penciclovir concentrations that are considered therapeutic in humans.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research