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4th elephant at Indianapolis Zoo confirmed to have deadly virus

Zahara (Photo provided by the Indianapolis Zoo)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indianapolis Zoo has confirmed a fourth African elephant at the facility has a deadly virus.

The zoo says they saw early indications of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV) in 12-year-old female Zahara on May 20 and they began treatment immediately. A day later, the virus was confirmed in Zahara.

This is the fourth such case in less than nine weeks.

As previously reported, elephants Nyah and Kalina died after testing positive for EEHV. After the two deaths, zoo staff have been performing blood tests twice a week in hopes to catch the virus early.

Kedar, a 13-year-old African elephant, was the third test positive for the viral disease, which has multiple strains and high fatality rates. His condition has since improved and the Indianapolis zoo says he has recovered.

“We know that dealing with EEHV is our new normal and catching it as soon as it emerges is the only hope for treatment and survival,” the zoo said in a statement.

Zoo officials are optimistic Zahara will make a full recovery.

Scientists aren’t sure how the disease spreads from elephants to elephants, but they know it does not spread to humans.

The Indianapolis Zoo has six African elephants, including 37-year-old Ivory, 13-year-old Zahara, 43-year-old Tombi, 52-year-old Sophi, 43-year-old Kubwa and the only male in the herd is Kedar.

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