Monkey B Virus
Herpes virus B, Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1, is a species of virus, of the genus Simplexvirus and of the family of Herpesviridae. It is a human pathogenic neurotropic virus in which infection can lead to severe and often fatal meningoencephalitis. It is related to human herpes viruses type 1 and 2 (HHV-1 and HHV-2) 5. It is highly prevalent in its usual host, the macaque.
Since its discovery, it has been responsible for more than 20 human deaths such as that of researcher Elisabeth Griffin whose eyes were splashed at the National Primate Research Center in Yerkes in 1997. A diagnosis and a suitable early treatment significantly increases the chances of survival to infection, while for untreated patients, the case fatality rate is over 70%.
What disease B Vrisus in Human?
Transmission of herpes B
From a captive monkey: primarily by bite,
scratch, prick with soiled material. Possible by way
ocular: contaminated hand brought to the eyes, projections
saliva in the eyes …
Frequency of cases
Less than 40 cases reported worldwide since 1932.
Risky professional activities
Any work in the presence of monkeys, especially from
from Asia and Africa, or samples from monkeys:
Pet shops in research laboratories.
Zoological parks, animal parks…
Symptoms and course
Onset of symptoms 2 days to 6 weeks later
contamination: fever, variablely associated with
skin vesicles. Pain, tingling, paralysis…
near the site of inoculation.
In the absence of treatment, damage to the nervous system central often fatal or responsible for sequelae disabling.
Transmission mode :
Zoonosis (infectious disease that has jumped from animal to humans).
The infection is transmitted during a bite or scratch by a carrier animal or during exposure on the injured skin or mucous membrane to products
infected biologicals (saliva, genital secretions, nervous tissues from infected monkeys, etc.).
Period of contagiousness:
The contagious power is extremely high, and the transition from monkey to human can be done on the basis of a simple scratch of the finger. Any carrier animal must
be considered potentially contagious. Animals are particularly contagious during their primary infection.
3 days – 4 weeks.
After inoculation the virus spreads along the central nervous system to the marrow and brain with ascending necrosis.
Ascending, febrile encephalomyelitis with vesicular-like skin reaction at the bite point, paralysis of the respiratory centers progressing in 70% of cases
towards death or significant sequelae in the event of survival.
The first symptoms may be itching at the bite site with vesicles and a
lymphadenopathy followed by flu-like syndrome before neurological disorders.
By PCR (identification of the genome of herpes virus B) in skin lesions or in cerebrospinal fluid or during clinical manifestations or necropsy (refers to such probes in other animals. Both types try to find out how an individual died. These examinations also may be used to find out if the deceased had been sick or injured before death).
Aciclovir, Ganciclovir by infusion, in a specialized environment.
Special case of pregnancy:
The frequency of herpes virus type B immunity is unknown. Immunity to human herpes types 1 and 2 does not protect against monkey B virus.
No vaccine available.
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What disease B Vrisus in Animals ?
Species that can be infected with herpes B Monkeys, mainly macaques.
Geographical distribution and frequency of herpes B cases Infection common in macaques in Asia, especially in Macaca mulatta (rhesus monkey) and M. fascicularis (crab-eating macaque) monkeys.
Mauritius cynomolgus macaques are deemed to be free.
Transmission of herpes B virus:
Sexually, by biting or scratching.
Possible transmission by air (droplets of saliva).
In macaques, most often without symptoms. In some cases, vesicles, canker sores present in the mouth, on the lips or on the genital and conjunctival mucous membranes.
In other monkeys, fatal infection of the central nervous system.
A veterinarian infected with the monkey B virus in China is said to have died
But so far, several people who had been in close contact with the victim have survived, the China Center for Infectious Disease Prevention (CCDC) reported in its weekly newspaper, reported Saturday (July 17th 2021).
The newspaper said a 53-year-old man from Beijing who worked at a primate research institute died on May 27, 2021. He developed early symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, a month after dissecting two monkeys who died in early March 2021.
The doctor had been treated in several hospitals before he died. The CCDC said there had been no previous deaths or clinical evidence of monkey B virus infection in China.
The veterinarian’s death is the first death of the monkey B virus in humans. The researchers took cerebrospinal fluid samples from the vet in April and the results confirmed he was positive for monkey B virus.
However, samples taken from close contacts gave negative results. The virus was first identified in 1932 as an “enzootic alphaherpesvirus” in Macaca monkeys.
The virus can be transmitted by direct contact and exchange of bodily fluids with a death rate of 70 to 80%. In the review, the CCDC also mentions that monkeys can potentially pose a threat to those around them.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Common
Photo description: Monkey (Bonnet macaque)