Oregon Zoo elephant, Packy, has active TB

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Zoo officials say their most famous elephant, Packy, now has a case of active tuberculosis and is not reacting well to his treatment drug.

Zoo staffers have been treating another elephant, named Rama, for active TB and a blood test last summer indicated Packy had a latent case. A recent nasal culture showed Packy's TB is now active.

The Oregonian reports (http://is.gd/6woD5o ) that while 30-year-old Rama has tolerated his medications well, Packy has not. Blood tests show the drug isoniazid (eye-son-IA-zid) reacts poorly with the nearly 52-year-old elephant's liver. He stopped eating several times.

Last week, Packy's appetite was back. Zoo veterinarian Mitch Finnegan is waiting for the elephant's liver function to normalize before trying more gradual doses.

When Packy was born in 1962, he was the first elephant born in North America in 44 years.

TB can be fatal to the zoo elephants, but zoo visitors are not at risk of catching it from the animals.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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