All you need to know about the Monkey B Virus
- China reported its first death from the Monkey B Virus (BV) - a Beijing-based veterinary surgeon
- It is also referred to as herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae and herpesvirus B
- So far, there have been no reports of human-to-human transmission
With more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus leading fresh surge of cases in various parts of the world, a new viral infection from China has sent alarm bells ringing in the scientific community.
China reported its first death from the Monkey B Virus (BV) after a Beijing-based veterinary surgeon contracted the virus while dissecting two animals, according to an India Today report. He died in May after being admitted in various hospitals. The case, first reported in March, was revealed in a Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) briefing last week.
Reports claimed that an analysis of the surgeon’s cerebrospinal fluid indicated an alpha herpesvirus infection. The patient’s blister fluid, blood, nasal swab, throat swab and plasma was sent to the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) od China CDC, where the strain was confirmed as Monkey BV.
What is Monkey B Virus (BV)?
Macaques, a genus of Old World monkeys are the natural hosts for the virus. Chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys can also die from the infection. It is also referred to as herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae and herpesvirus B.
The US CDC has said that B Virus infections in people were rare and that only 50 people have been infected since it was first detected in 1932, of which only 21 have died.
How does it spread?
So far, there have been no reports of human-to-human transmission and contact tracing have returned negative results. The 50 documented cases since 1932 were infected only after being bitten or scratched by a monkey, or when infected tissues from a monkey got under their skin.
What are the symptoms?
The earliest symptoms of the Monkey B Virus are similar to flu, a commonality with the coronavirus. Fevers, chills, muscle ache, fatigue, headache are some of its common symptoms. Gradually, patients might develop blisters on their wounds and other symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.
In its advanced stages, the virus may cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord, causing neurological and inflammatory symptoms, which lead to death. The CDC says symptoms may last from one day to three weeks.
There are no vaccines for the Monkey B Virus. If bitten by a monkey, one should wash the wound with soap or iodine for 15 minutes before seeking professional medical help.