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Infect Agents Dis. 1995 Jun;4(2):55-70.

The simian herpesviruses.

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Department of Veterinary Parasitology, Microbiology, and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, USA.


Increased use of monkeys in biomedical research has led to an intensified awareness of potential dangers posed by zoonotic infections. Zoonoses have an impact not only upon human health and safety but also upon continued availability of nonhuman primate resources for the biomedical community. Neurotropic herpesviruses indigenous to primates are significant owing to their potential for causing severe or fatal infections when transmitted between human and nonhuman primates or between different species of monkeys. Although the macaque herpesvirus (B virus) is known to many investigators, other simian herpesviruses have remained relatively obscure in spite of reports of disease-causing potential. In this review we summarize what is known about the natural history and pathogenic potential of simian alpha-herpesviruses. Recent research into the molecular biology of this group of viruses is also reviewed, and recent advances toward development of diagnostic tests based on these data are discussed.

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