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Monkey B virus caused the first human death in China

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    21st Jul, 2021


China has reported the first human infection case with Monkey B virus (BV) after a Beijing-based veterinarian was confirmed with the same a month after he dissected two dead monkeys in early March.

What is the Monkey B virus?

  • The virus was initially isolated in 1932.
  • It is an alpha-herpesvirus in macaques of the genus Macaca.
  • B virus is the only identified old-world-monkey herpesvirus which displays severe pathogenicity in humans.
  • Macaque monkeys commonly have this Monkey B virus, which can be found in their saliva, feces (poop), urine (pee), or brain or spinal cord tissue.
  • B virus can survive for hours on surfaces, especially when moist.
  • Ithas a fatality rate of 70 percent to 80 percent.
  • Transmission:The infection can be transmitted with the direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions of monkeys.
  • The infection spread:Humans can get infected if bitten or scratched by an infected monkey or get an infected monkey’s tissue or fluid on broken skin or in the eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Symptoms: It typically starts within one month after being exposed to the B virus, but could appear in as little as three to seven days.
    • It typically has flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, muscle ache, fatigue, and headache, following which an infected person may develop small blisters in the wound or area on the body that came in contact with the monkey.

Who are at higher risk for infection?

  • The virus might have a potential threat to laboratory workers, veterinarians, and those who may be exposed to monkeys or their specimens.
  • Currently, there are no vaccines to protect against B virus infection.