As the world cuddle through the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new virus named Monkey B Virus (BV) has emerged with its first case in China, where a veterinary surgeon contacted the virus while dissecting two animals.
The 53-year-old vet began experiencing nausea and vomiting, and a month later developed a fever and neurological symptoms. The “China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” revealed on Saturday that he had been to various hospitals, but ultimately passed away on May 27.
In mid-April, researchers collected the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid for next-generation sequencing. The readings indicated that they could be infected with the alphaherpesvirus. They also collected various samples, including fluid from blisters, blood, nasal swabs, throat swabs, and plasma to better identify the pathogen.
The samples were sent to the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The IVDC performed four sets of RTPCR to detect BV, varicella virus (VZV), simian pox virus, and orthopedic pox virus, but the samples were only positive for BV.
What is Monkey B Virus (BV)?
Monkey BV is caused by macaques, which are the genus of Old World monkeys that act as natural hosts. Although the virus is spread by macaques, chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys can also be infected and die. B virus is also commonly referred to as herpes B, monkey virus B, monkey herpes virus, and herpesvirus B.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declared that human infection with the B virus is rare, and since it was first discovered in 1932, it has only infected 50 people. Only 21 of them died.
Although the Chinese surgeon died from the virus, there have been no reports of person-to-person transmission so far, and contact tracing has shown a negative result. The virus is found in the saliva, feces, urine, brain, or spinal cord tissue of rhesus monkeys, and they can survive on the surface for several hours, especially in humid conditions. Although the risk of ordinary people contracting the virus is low, the risk is high for laboratory workers, veterinarians, and others who may come into contact with monkeys or their specimens.
What are the symptoms of the Monkey B Virus?
Just like Coronavirus, the initial symptoms of the Monkey B virus are similar to those of the flu, including fever and chills, muscle aches, fatigue, and headaches. Over time, people infected with the virus can develop small blisters on the wound, while other symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and hiccups.
As the disease worsens, the virus can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, resulting in inflammatory and nervous system symptoms, muscle coordination problems, brain damage and severe damage to the nervous system, and eventually death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms can change from one day to three weeks.
How is it treated?
- Seek medical care immediately after you discover the cause
- Wash with soap, detergent, or iodine and gently scrub the wound for 15 minutes.
- Let the water run through the wound or area for another 15 to 20 minutes.