China: Beijing Records first Monkey B Virus Death

Story Highlights
  • First death due to Monkey B Virus reported from China
  • The deceased was a veterinarian who was infected in March after he dissected two dead monkeys at an institution researching non-human primates
  • Reports mandate stringent surveillance in laboratory macaques

China: Amid rising concerns, official media reported China’s first death attributed to Monkey B virus. A Beijing-based veterinarian was confirmed as China’s first human infection case with Monkey B virus (BV).

Reportedly, the 53 year old was a male vet who worked for an institution researching non-human primates. He showed early onset symptoms of nausea and vomiting, a month after he dissected two dead monkeys in early March. Following which he sought treatment in several hospitals and eventually died on May 27, revealed a local media room report.

Close contact of the vet was traced and have been under scrutiny. So far there has been no fatal evidence of infections by Monkey B Virus in the province, thus the vet’s case marks the first human infection case with BV identified in China. 

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

 The virus, initially isolated in 1932, is an alpha herpes virus enzootic in macaques of the genus Macaca. It can be transmitted via direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions; and has a fatality rate of 70-80 per cent. 

BV in monkeys is reported to pose a potential threat to occupational workers. The report urges elimination of BV during the development of specific pathogen free rhesus colonies and strengthening surveillance in  laboratory macaques to prevent further breakouts.

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