ABQ BioPark elephant tests positive for tuberculosis

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albert, a 24-year-old Asian elephant bull at the ABQ BioPark, tested positive for tuberculosis, officials said Tuesday.

The BioPark says they first noticed abnormalities in Albert’s routine bloodwork. Then, they collected fluid from his trunk and tested it for TB.

While the test came back positive, he isn’t showing any symptoms of the disease. Zoo staff members plan to “rigorously” treat Albert with antibiotics. That will last 12-18 months.

The BioPark is not new to treating TB in elephants, either. Irene tested positive for the disease in 2000 and Alice tested positive for the same strain in 2010.

Since 2012, each elephant tested negative for the disease. They are still living at the BioPark.

Tests will be done to determine if the same strain is affecting Albert.

The BioPark says TB testing is a normal part of their elephant care. In fact, elephants are trained to give them samples to test for any traces of TB bacteria.

BioPark guests are not at risk of contracting TB from Albert. Staff also undergo testing and will undergo additional testing as a precaution.