A veterinarian from Beijing was confirmed to be the first person to be infected with the monkey B (BV) virus in China and died from the virus; but his close contacts are still protected from him.
According to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 53-year-old veterinarian working at an institution that studies non-human primates showed the first symptoms of nausea and vomiting a month after the autopsy of two dead monkeys in early March. The vet sought help at several hospitals and eventually died on May 27.
Prior to this case, there were no fatal or even clinically obvious BV infections in China, so the case with a veterinarian was the first case of infection of people with BV detected in China.
In April, researchers collected cerebrospinal fluid from a veterinarian and identified it as positive for BV, but samples obtained from his close acquaintances showed negative results for the virus.
The virus, first isolated in 1932, is an enzootic macaque alpha herpesvirus. It can be transmitted by direct contact and exchange of secretions of the body, and the mortality rate is from 70% to 80%.
It is assumed that the BV in monkeys can pose a potential threat to workers. It is necessary to eliminate BV during the development of certain pathogen-free rhesus colonies and to strengthen the supervision of laboratory macaques and professional workers in China.
According to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkey B virus is transmitted to humans in the same way as herpes simplex virus (HSV). As with coronavirus, the first symptoms of monkey B virus are similar to the flu and include fever and chills, muscle aches, fatigue and headaches. Symptoms can range from one day to three weeks.
As the disease progresses, the virus can cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord, leading to neurological and inflammatory symptoms, muscle coordination problems, brain damage and severe damage to the nervous system, which eventually leads to death.
It is estimated that by 2020, only 50 people have been infected with the virus, 21 of whom have died.