The herpesvirus B is a very deadly zoonotic virus found in old world primates. It is known by many names, such as Herps B, herpesvirus simiae, Herpesvirus B, monkey B virus, Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1, and most commenaly, the B virus. Give all these names does not change the fact that it’s an extraordinarily deadly virus.
The Herpes B virus is carried by the Macaque monkeys. The different species of Macaque monkeys are found across the world, but the largest populations are in asia. The monkey may seem harmless, but by the time it reaches adulthood the majority of the monkeys will have the virus.
The only way for the a human to be infected, is to be bitten or scratched by a Macaque monkey. One can also contract herpes B by a contaminated syringe, and exposure to nervous tissue of the monkey. The virus can survive on the surface of objects for hours. Tranmission is extorinarly rare. In a study, out of 166 possible transmission cases in animal care workers, none of them tested positive for the virus. There has only been only one single document of human to human transmission. The incident caused 4 people to contract the virus in florida. The virus is very common in adult Macaque monkeys, but very rare for humans.
Signs and Symptoms
The Herpes B virus symptoms usually do not begin until a month after infection, although the incubation period can last a little as 3 to 7 days. The first signs include flu like symptoms, such as headache, fever, and lesions. Death can occur 1 to 21 days of the symptoms onset. Other symptoms involve abdominal pain, muscular incoordination, and shortness of breath. One the virus reaches the
central nervous system, many “neurological system” will appear. Some neurological symptoms and there meaning defined by the CDC include ataxia, which by definition is “the lack of voluntary control of muscle movements”, hyperesthesias, “the increase in sensitivity to stimuli”, diplopia or double vision, and ascending flaccid paralysis, “the extreme weakness as a result of reduced muscle tone”. In some cases, the patients are alive, but are paralyzed, while some patients remain in a comatose state, resulting in respiratory failure. Some survivors have different degrees of mobility, and some experience a slow neurological decline.
Risk for Infections
Those who at the highest risk for infections are primarily laboratory workers and veterans, Because they have the most contact with bodily fluid and tissue from the macaque monkeys. People in Asia, near macaque populations are also at the highest risk for infection.
If left untreated, it’s often fatal. About 70% of patients die of complication related to the infection. But there are treatments you can do. When you are bitten or scratched you should begin first aid immediately. One needs to clean the infected area immediately. There are certain factors one needs to consider before taking antiviral therapy. First factor is the species and the health of the specimen. Only macaque monkeys carry the virus, and they do not usually shed the virus. Another is how well one has cleaned the wound, and the timeliness of the cleaning. And lastly, the nature of the wound or exposure to he primate. A deep puncture carries a higher risk of transmission. Certains types of antiviral therapy can be taken to help combat the infections, such as Valacyclovir, a drug used to treat herpes.
In summary, through my research of herpes B I have learned how truly deadly and very rare this virus is. The CDC reports “only 50 people infections since the identification of the virus”. The infection can become fatal in a day after onset of the first symptoms.