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St. Louis elephant's virus has zoos worried

Saturday, February 14, 2009 | 3:27 p.m. CST; updated 5:08 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 14, 2009

 ST. LOUIS — A virus that is endangering the life of a 2-year-old elephant at the St. Louis Zoo has mystified scientists for years.

The elephant, named Jade, is fighting a herpes infection that can cause extensive internal bleeding. It hits only elephants, particularly young elephants. The virus has killed three elephants at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield since 2000.

Scientists don't know how the virus is spread and there is no known cure.

St. Louis Zoo started treating Jade for the virus on Monday. She was reported in stable condition.

Mike Crocker, superintendent of the Springfield zoo, says the virus is the biggest problem facing zoos in their efforts to keep elephants from extinction.

 


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