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Zoo elephant improves after treatment for virus that killed 2 others

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kedar the elephant is showing improved health, the Indianapolis Zoo said Thursday. 

The 13-year-old male African elephant has been receiving antiviral medicine for elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) for 10 days and its virus levels have dropped significantly, the zoo said.

In March, two African elephants died in a week after contracting the aggressive herpes virus. Nyah, 6 years old, died March 19Kalina, 8 years old, died March 26. The zoo has six remaining elephants.

There is no vaccine to fight the virus, according to experts. The virus cannot be contracted by humans or other animals. It attacks endothelial cells in elephants, rupturing capillaries and causing hemorrhaging. 

The hemorrhagic disease is the leading cause of death in juvenile Asian elephants born in North America, said Paul Ling, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and member of the International Elephant Foundation’s EEHV Advisory Committee.