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China reports first death due to Monkey B virus

·2-min read

China has reported the first human infection death with Monkey B Virus (BV), confirmed a Beijing-based vet on Saturday.

The 53-year-old male vet, who works for an institution researching on non-human primates, showed early-onset symptoms of nausea and vomiting, a month after he dissected two dead monkeys in early March, reported Global Times citing the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo taken on May 19, 2021 shows a golden monkey at Dalongtan Golden Monkey Research Center in Shennongjia National Park of central China's Hubei Province. Thanks to the efforts of local authority and the improvement of environment in the past years, the number of golden monkeys in Shennongjia has reached 1,471 nowadays. (Photo by Rao Rao/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Photo taken on May 19, 2021 shows a golden monkey at Dalongtan Golden Monkey Research Center in Shennongjia National Park of central China's Hubei Province. Thanks to the efforts of local authority and the improvement of environment in the past years, the number of golden monkeys in Shennongjia has reached 1,471 nowadays. (Photo by Rao Rao/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, his family members are reportedly safe from the virus.

The vet sought treatment in several hospitals and eventually died on May 27, said the journal.

It further stated that there were no fatal or even clinically evident BV infections in China before, thus the vet's case marks the first human infection case with BV identified in China.

Researchers have collected the cerebrospinal fluid of the veterinarian in April and identified him as positive for BV, yet samples of his close contacts suggested negative results for the virus, reported Global Times.

The publication further reported that the virus, initially isolated in 1932, is an alphaherpesvirus enzootic in macaques of the genus Macaca. It can be transmitted via direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions and has a fatality rate of 70 per cent to 80 per cent. 

The journal suggested that BV in monkeys might pose a potential threat to occupational workers. It is necessary to eliminate BV during the development of specific pathogen-free rhesus colonies and to strengthen surveillance in laboratory macaques and occupational workers in China. 

(Inputs from ANI)

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