Health Hazard Evaluation Report HETA 98-0061-2687, Yerkes Primate Research Center, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
On December 16, 1997, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for technical assistance from the Atlanta East Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The request asked NIOSH to assist OSHA during an investigation of an incident involving an employee of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center (Yerkes PRC) Field Station, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The employee contracted Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 (Herpesvirus simiae, or B virus) from an ocular exposure to primate body fluids that occurred on October 29, 1997, while working with Rhesus Macaque monkeys at the Field Station and subsequently died on December 10, 1997. On December 12, 1997, an animal technician working at the Yerkes PRC Main Station was splashed in the eye with an unknown fluid while moving a macaque from a cage to a transfer box. The worker was wearing a combination surgical mask/face shield at the time of the exposure. The employee reported the incident 14 days later after her eye became bloodshot and began to hurt. She was subsequently evaluated for B virus infection, but no evidence of infection was found.