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Monkey B virus.


Hilliard J8.


Human Herpesviruses: Biology, Therapy, and Immunoprophylaxis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2007. Chapter 57.

Author information

Stanford University, CA School of Medicine
University of Bologna, Italy
Emory University School of Medicine, USA
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, PA, USA
The University of Chicago, IL, USA
University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL, USA
Osaka University School of Medicine, Japan
Department of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA


B virus (Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1, herpesviridae), an alphaherpesvirus endemic in macaque monkeys, has the unique distinction of being the only one of nearly 35 identified non-human primate herpesviruses that is highly pathogenic in humans. B virus has been positively linked with more than two dozen human deaths since the first report describing it in 1933, five of those in the last 12 years, following exposures involving macaques in during acute B virus infection. B virus, unique among the non-human herpesviruses, is included in this volume because it is distinctively neurotropic and neurovirulent in the foreign human host inadvertently exposed by handling macaque monkeys generally used in biomedical research. Untreated B virus infections in humans result in an extremely high mortality rate (∼80%) and, consequently, present unique and potentially lethal challenges for individuals handling macaque monkeys or macaque cells and tissues. Infection in humans is associated with breach of primary skin or mucosal defenses and subsequent contamination of the site with virus from a macaque or cells or tissues harvested from this animal. Fomites, contaminated particulates or surfaces, can serve as source of virus as well. In one case, human-to-human transmission was reported and attributed to a shared tube of medication which resulted in contamination at a broken skin site with cream used to treat another patient’s bite wound. Later, the same patient autoincoculated one eye during manipulation of a contact lens. In 28 zoonotic cases occurring during the 1980s and 1990s out a total of 46 documented cases confirmed since 1933, 80% have survived infection with the advent of antiviral therapies in contrast to 80% mortality reported in untreated patients. Timely antiviral intervention is an effective means of reducing B virus-associated morbidity and preventing a fatal outcome.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007.

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