Herpesviruses: How They Work | Safety Guidelines | Info for Doctors & Patients | Macaque Monkeys

B Virus Info

B Virus naturally occurs in macaque monkeys. While relatively benign in its natural host, the alphaherpesvirus can cause rapidly ascending encephalomyelitis with a fatality rate of approximately 80% if spread to humans (through bites, scratches, splashes, or needle-stick injuries). B virus directly affects the central nervous system of infected human and nonhuman primates.

In the macaque host, B virus causes mild symptoms that are similar to that of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV types 1 or 2) in humans. These symptoms can include oral or genital lesions, but virus can be shed in the absence of lesions as well. After initial infection, the B virus can remain latent in the dorsal root of spinal nerves subserving the region of exposure or cranial ganglia of both natural and foreign hosts. B virus is transmitted from a host when virus is shed from herpetic lesions or the affected mucosal sites. How often or how long the host sheds is not yet fully understood.


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