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Monkey B Virus (BV)

Monkey B virus (BV):

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. Till date, only one case has been documented of an infected person spreading B virus to another person.

  • The virus, initially isolated in 1932, is an alphaherpesvirus enzootic in macaques of the genus Macaca. B virus is the only identified old-world-monkey herpesvirus that displays severe pathogenicity in humans.
  • The infection can be transmitted via direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions of monkeys and has a fatality rate of 70 per cent to 80 per cent.
  • Macaque monkeys commonly have this virus, and it can be found in their saliva, feces (poop), urine (pee), or brain or spinal cord tissue.
  • The virus may also be found in cells coming from an infected monkey in a lab.
  • Humans can get infected if they are bitten or scratched by an infected monkey; get an infected monkey’s tissue or fluid on broken skin or in eyes, nose, or mouth; scratch or cut oneself on a contaminated cage or other sharp-edged surface or get exposed to the brain (especially), spinal cord, or skull of an infected monkey.
  • Symptoms: The first indications of B virus infection are typically flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, muscle ache, fatigue and headache, following which an infection person may develop small blisters in the wound or area on the body that came in contact with the monkey.
  • Currently, there are no vaccines that can protect against B virus infection.

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