By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

China has reported the first human infection of herpes B virus, aka monkey B virus in a 53-year-old male veterinary surgeon based out of Beijing, according to a Notes from the Field in the China CDC Weekly.

Image/Robert Herriman

He worked in an institute specialized in nonhuman primate breeding and experimental research in Beijing. He dissected two dead monkeys on March 4 and 6, 2021 and experienced nausea and vomiting followed by fever with neurological symptoms one month later. As a result, the patient visited doctor in several hospitals but eventually died on May 27.

Researchers have collected the cerebrospinal fluid of the veterinarian in April and identified him as positive for herpes B virus, yet samples of his close contacts had negative results for the virus.

There were no fatal or even clinically evident herpes B infections in China before 2021.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), B virus infections in people are usually caused by macaque monkeys. These kinds of monkeys are commonly infected with B virus, but they usually do not have symptoms, or have just mild disease.

B virus infections in people are rare. Since B virus was identified in 1932, only 50 people have been documented to have infections; 21 of them died. Most of these people got infected after they were bitten or scratched by a monkey, or when tissue or fluids from a monkey got on their broken skin, such as by needle stick or cut. In 1997, a researcher died from B virus infection after bodily fluid from an infected monkey splashed into her eye.

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