China reports first human death from Monkey B Virus

The 53-year-old veterinary surgeon was infected after he dissected two dead monkeys early March

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 20 July 2021

China has reported its first human infection with Monkey B virus (BV). A Beijing-based veterinary surgeon is confirmed as China's first death from the zoonotic disease.

The vet used to work for an institution researching non-human primates. The 53-year-old surgeon was infected with the virus after he dissected two dead monkeys in early March, according to reports.

The surgeon started experiencing early symptoms of nausea and vomiting followed by fever and neurological symptoms which eventually took his life on May 27. Researchers collected the cerebrospinal fluid of the veterinarian in April and identified him as positive for BV.

All close contacts of the patient are reported to have tested negative for the virus, according to reports from China. Monkey BV, an alphaherpesvirus enzootic in macaques, was initially isolated in 1932.

The virus is generally transmitted via direct contact and exchange of bodily fluid secretions, according to China CDC Weekly. Monkey B virus poses a zoonotic threat to primate veterinarians, animal care personnel and laboratory researchers.

Scientists have advised a close watch on laboratory macaques and occupational workers in China to control further spread.


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