Herpes B virus is a zoonotic agent that is endemic among macaque monkeys including rhesus macaque and formosan macaque, but can cause fatal encephalomyelitis in humans. According to a foreign research herpes B virus is fatal in 80% of untreated patients when treated with appropriate medications, the mortality rate drops to 20%. Most documented cases of macaque-induced herpes B infections in humans are from animals used in research.
The most effective way to ward off infection is the implementation of laboratory biosafety practices by laboratory personal and public awareness campaigns to prevent public from contact with wildlife.
Herpesvirus B Infection Surveillance in Taiwan
Taiwan National Infectious Disease Statistics System–Herpesvirus B Infection
Self-reporting through the toll-free 1922 hotline .
Prevention and Control
There are currently no vaccines available for B virus and the adherence to appropriate laboratory and animal facility protocols will greatly reduce the risk of B virus transmission, including:
- (1)Appropriate personal protective equipment, including a lab coat, gloves, and a face shield, must be used when working with macaque monkeys.
- (2)Any bites, scratches, or exposure to the tissues or secretions of macaques must be cleansed immediately.
- (3)Following B virus exposure, samples from both the exposed individual and the implicated macaque should be submitted to the laboratory for B virus diagnostic testing.
Herpesvirus B Infection was included in the list of Category IV Notifiable Infectious Disease in Taiwan in 2007. The herpesvirus B is a zoonotic agent that is endemic among macaque monkeys only, but can cause fatal encephalomyelitis in humans. From 2007 to 2018, there was not any laboratory–confirmed case in Taiwan.
- Who is a high risk group of Herpesvirus B infection?
- Persons at greatest risk for B virus infection are veterinarians, laboratory workers, and others who have close contact with macaque monkeys or monkey cell cultures. Infection is typically caused by animal bites or scratches, exposure to the tissues or secretions of macaques, or mucosal contact (contact with the eyes, nose or mouth with infected body fluid or tissue. Human infection can also result from indirect contact via, for example, a needlestick injury from a contaminated needle.
- How are B virus transmitted?
- B virus establishes latent infection in macaques and can only be transmitted during active viral shedding into mucosal surfaces (such as eyes, nose, mouth). This happens only on reactivation from the latent state, which occurs rarely—most commonly in animals that have been stressed or immunosuppressed. So public don’t feed wildlife and think of it as pets.
- USA CDC | B Virus (Herpes B, Monkey B virus, Herpesvirus simiae, and Herpesvirus B)