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

B virus infection is extremely rare, but it can lead to severe brain damage or death if you do not get treatment immediately. People typically get infected with B virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque monkey, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose, or mouth. Only one case has been documented of an infected person spreading B virus to another person.

Macaque Monkey
B virus Infection is Serious
woman holding her head with a headache

The first indications of B virus infection are typically flu-like symptoms:

  • fever and chills
  • muscle ache
  • fatigue
  • headache

You may develop small blisters in the wound or area on your body that had contact with the monkey.

Symptoms typically start within one month of being exposed to a monkey with B virus infection, but could appear in as little as three to seven days.

Get First Aid Immediately
man washing hands

If you are exposed to a macaque monkey, begin first aid immediately.

  • First, thoroughly wash and gently scrub the wound or area on your body that had contact with the monkey with soap, detergent, or iodine for 15 minutes.
  • After, run water over the wound or area for 15 to 20 minutes more.

Then, immediately see a healthcare provider for treatment. Tell the healthcare provider that you have been exposed to a macaque monkey that may be infected with B virus.

Page last reviewed: January 31, 2019