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Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Feb;9(2):246-50.

B-virus (Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1) infection in humans and macaques: potential for zoonotic disease.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Nonhuman primates are widely used in biomedical research because of their genetic, anatomic, and physiologic similarities to humans. In this setting, human contact directly with macaques or with their tissues and fluids sometimes occurs. Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 (B virus), an alphaherpesvirus endemic in Asian macaques, is closely related to herpes simplex virus (HSV). Most macaques carry B virus without overt signs of disease. However, zoonotic infection with B virus in humans usually results in fatal encephalomyelitis or severe neurologic impairment. Although the incidence of human infection with B virus is low, a death rate of >70% before the availability of antiviral therapy makes this virus a serious zoonotic threat. Knowledge of the clinical signs and risk factors for human B-virus disease allows early initiation of antiviral therapy and prevents severe disease or death.

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