China Reports World's First Human Death from "Monkey B Virus"

China Reports World's First Human Death from "Monkey B Virus" By A Robin Rajkumar - July 19, 2021

Monkey B Virus

A Beijing-based veterinary surgeon, who died on May 27 after complaining of fever and neurological symptoms, was the first human fatality due to Monkey B Virus, revealed China's Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Weekly on Saturday. The 53-year-old veterinarian experienced nausea and vomiting days after he dissected two dead monkeys in early March.

The veterinarian had visited several hospitals for treatment but he could not be saved. In April, his cerebrospinal fluid was collected for next-generation sequencing. The diagnosis suggested a possible alphaherpesvirus infection. Subsequently, the researchers collected several specimens — including blister fluid, blood, nasal swab, throat swab, and plasma — to further identify the cause of the disease.

His samples were later sent to the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC), which confirmed Monkey B Virus. The Chinese CDC has claimed that there were no fatal or even clinically evident BV infections in the country before.

As for the transmissibility of the virus, the researchers have said the family members of the veterinarian and his close contacts have tested negative for the infection. However, China CDC Weekly has said that the virus — first isolated by researchers in 1932 — might pose a zoonotic (transmissible from an animal to a human) threat.

The news of the death of the veterinarian has triggered concerns across the globe as the novel coronavirus also broke out in China.

Here is what we know about the Monkey B Virus

  • Initial symptoms of the virus include — fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, and rash-itchy wounds, among others. These initial symptoms usually develop around 1-3 weeks after exposure to the virus.
  • In the later stage, the virus can lead to the loss of muscle coordination and neurological damage.
  • A report published in the US National Library of Medicine in 2008 revealed that Monkey B Virus has a propensity to invade the central nervous system when transmitted to humans.
  • The virus can be transmitted via direct contact and exchange of body secretions and has a mortality rate of 70-80 percent.
By A Robin Rajkumar - July 19, 2021

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