Oregon Zoo elephant begins TB treatment

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PORTLAND — The Oregon Zoo in Portland has begun a yearlong treatment plan for Rama, an Asian elephant who tested positive for tuberculosis in late May.

The zoo also plans to administer preventive treatment to Packy, Portland's most famous elephant who was born at the zoo in 1962. Chief zoo veterinarian Mitch Finnegan says Packy shows no signs of active TB but lab work on his blood indicated possible exposure.

Zoo officials say it took until this month to gather enough medication to begin Rama's treatment. Packy's treatment can start next week.

Finnegan says TB in elephants is "typically very manageable" and neither elephant has shown signs of illness. While TB in elephants is not common, the zoo says it has been reported as far back as 1875.

Regional public health officer Dr. Justin Denny says zoo visitors are not at risk.