Definition of Herpes B Virus

Reviewed on 7/23/2021

Herpes B virus (B virus) is a type of virus commonly found in macaque monkeys that typically does not cause disease or only mild symptoms in these monkeys. Other primates, such as chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys, can become infected with B virus and frequently die from these infections. Spread of the virus to humans has been documented but is rare. Most human infections occur after being bitten or scratched by an infected monkey, or when tissue or fluids from a monkey come in contact with broken skin. Laboratory workers, veterinarians, and those who work with monkeys are at greatest risk of infection. Since B virus was identified in 1932, only 50 people have been documented to have infections, with 21 of these infections causing death.

Signs and symptoms of B virus infection include initial flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and fatigue. The infection can also cause shortness of breath, hiccups, abdominal pain, and nausea. Progression of the disease can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord with associated brain damage.

It is also known as B virus, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B.

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References
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "B Virus (herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B)." Jan. 31, 2019. <https://www.cdc.gov/herpesbvirus/index.html>.

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