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B Virus (herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B)

Rhesus Monkeys

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B virus infection is caused by Macacine herpesvirus 1 (formerly Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 [CHV-1]), an alphaherpesvirus closely related to herpes simplex virus. B virus is also commonly referred to as herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B.

The virus is commonly found among macaque monkeys, including rhesus macaques, pig-tailed macaques, and cynomolgus monkeys (also called crab-eating or long-tailed macaques), any of which can harbor latent B virus infection and appear to be natural hosts for the virus. Monkeys infected with B virus usually have no or only mild symptoms. In addition, rabbits, guinea pigs, and mice can be experimentally infected with B virus.

Infection with B virus is extremely rare in humans; however, when it does occur, the infection can result in severe neurologic impairment or fatal encephalomyelitis if the patient was not treated soon after exposure (see Risks for Infection and Treatment sections).

B virus is classified as a select agent, with the potential to pose a threat to public health and safety, by the U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services (see the Code of Federal Regulations—42CFR73.3).

Herpes B Virus Topics

Scientist holding petri dish.Cause and Incidence

B virus infection is caused by the zoonotic agent Macacine herpesvirus 1...

Syringe and petri dish with letters DNA.Risk for Infection

Persons at greatest risk for B virus infection are veterinarians, laboratory workers, and others...

DoctorSigns and Symptoms

Initial symptoms of B virus infection in humans include fever, headache, and vesicular skin lesions...

Latex gloves and protective goggles.Transmission

B virus infection in humans occurs only rarely. Possible routes of transmission include...

First aid kitFirst Aid and Treatment

When B virus infection occurs in humans, it is often fatal unless treated right away...

Scientist holding up gloved handPrevention

Adherence to appropriate laboratory and animal facility protocols will greatly reduce the risk of B virus transmission...

This CDC field researcher is placing labeled filled tubes in pint cartons for proper storage.Specimen Collection and B virus Detection

Specimens for virus culture and serologic testing should be obtained from the exposed person...

Image of an open bookResources and Publications

Additional information regarding B virus and B virus infection...

Risk for Infection

Female vet using microscope in surgery

Persons at greatest risk for B virus infection are veterinarians, laboratory workers, and others who have close contact with Old World macaques or monkey cell cultures.

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