Monkey B Virus- All you need to know

The 53 years old male vet in China started showing the early onset symptoms of Monkey B Virus, a month after he had dissected two monkeys in early March.

Created On: Jul 19, 2021 15:58 IST
Monkey B Virus
Monkey B Virus

As per the official media of China, a Beijing-based veterinarian who was confirmed to be China’s first human infection case with Monkey B Virus (BV) has died. As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, this new case has raised concerns all over the world.

The case of the Monkey B Virus, first reported in March 2021, was revealed in the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) briefing. The surgeon passed away in May after visiting several hospitals.

As per the report, the analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid from the patient indicated alphaherpesvirus infection.

Blood, nasal swab, blister fluid, throat swab, and plasma were also collected from the patient for further sequencing. The collected samples were further sent to the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention of China CDC, where the sample was identified as that of Monkey BV.

Monkey B Virus: First human case in China

The 53 years old male vet in China, who had worked for an institution researching on non-human primates, had started showing the early onset symptoms of vomiting and nausea, a month after he had dissected two monkeys in early March.

The surgeon sought treatment in several hospitals but eventually passed away on May 27, 2021.

Monkey B Virus: What do we know?

The Monkey B Virus (BV) is caused by macaques, a genus of Old World Monkeys that serve as the natural host.

While the deadly virus is transmitted by macaques, capuchin and Chimpanzees monkeys can also become infected and die. B Virus is also most commonly referred to as monkey B Virus, herpes B, herpes virus B, and herpes virus simiae.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) of the United States has said that the B Virus infections in people were rare. Since its first detection in 1932, the virus has infected just 50 people and 21 of them died.

Where is it found?

Monkey B Virus is found in faeces, saliva, brain, urine, or spinal cord tissue of macaques. It can survive for hours on surfaces, particularly when moist.

Even though the risk of common people getting infected by the virus is extremely low, it is high among veterinarians, laboratory workers, and others who may be exposed to the monkeys or their specimens.

Is the B Virus fatal?

While the surgeon from China succumbed to the virus, there have been no reports of human-to-human transmission so far and the contact tracing has shown negative results.

The 50 documented cases of Monkey B Virus since 1932 got infected after they were scratched or bitten by a monkey, or when the tissue or the fluids from a monkey got on their broken skin.

Monkey B Virus: What are the symptoms?

Just like COVID-19, the first symptoms of the B Virus are flu-like, which will include chills and fever, fatigue, muscle ache, headache.

In time, the infected person may develop small blisters in the wound, while other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, hiccups, abdominal pain.

As the disease further worsens, it may lead to swelling of the spinal cord and brain, resulting in inflammatory and neurological symptoms, brain damage, muscle coordination problem, and severe damage to the nervous system eventually leading to death.

As per CDC, the symptoms of the Monkey B Virus may vary between one day to three weeks.

What is the treatment for Monkey B Virus?

Currently, there is no vaccine available to counter the Monkey B Virus. However, timely antiviral medications can help in reducing the risk to life.

1. The advise by doctors in case you are bitten by a monkey are-

2. Wash and gently scrub the wound with detergent, soap, or iodine for 15 minutes.

3. Run water over the area or wound for another 15 to 20 minutes

4. Immediately seek medical attention

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