Monkey B virus disease
The disease is caused by Herpesvirus simiae or B virus, a member of the herpes group of viruses. The infection occurs naturally among primates of the genus Macaca in Asia. In India, the incidence of the disease rises during and after the monsoon season. The B virus causes persistent infection in captive adult macaques. The infection produces a benign disease that often goes unnoticed or completely asymptomatic. B virus infections in humans usually results from monkey bites, scratches, or cage scratches. The most documented infections have occurred in biomedical research laboratory personnel working with apparently healthy rhesus, cynomolgus, or African green monkey or their tissues including kidney cell cultures. Human infection has also resulted from direct contamination of wound with monkey saliva. Clinical s ymp to ms i n h uma ns in c lu d e a c u t e a s c e n d i n g mye l it i s a nd fu l mi n a n t meningoencephalitis which leads to death within days. Infection in humans can be diagnosed by demonstrating a rise in antibody titre and by isolating the virus from the CNS. Human infection carries a high mortality but patients treated early with intravenous acyclovir or gancyclovir may survive. Human-to-human transmission of B virus infection is rare.