Monkey B Virus Death Recorded in China: What is It? How Does It Spread?

China recorded the first case of Monkey B virus (BV) after a 53-year-old Beijing-based veterinarian was infected.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>China recorded the first case of Monkey B virus (BV) after a 53-year-old Beijing-based veterinarian was infected.</p></div>

China recorded the first case of Monkey B virus (BV) after a 53-year-old Beijing-based veterinarian was infected, following the dissection of two dead monkeys, reported China CDC Weekly.

While the vet passed away in May, the news of his death came out earlier in July, raising concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What is Monkey B virus? How does it spread? Is it a cause for concern?

Here's all you need to know.


What is Monkey B virus?

Monkey B virus, first identified in 1932, is also commonly known as B virus (BV) or Herpes B, or Herpesvirus B. The virus is said to typically occur in macaque monkeys and can be found in their saliva, feces, urine, or brain or spinal cord tissue.

How common is the virus?

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is a very rare viral infection. The virus is learnt to have infected 50 people till 2020, of which 21 died.

How is the virus spread?

It spreads when the person comes in contact with infected monkey's tissue or the fluid from skin. The virus is said to live on the surface for hours. It can also be transmitted when an infected monkey bites or scratches a human being.

It could also spread from injury from a sharp-edged object (like a cage), which is contaminated with the virus.

Is it communicable?

For now, only one case of B virus spreading from one person to another has been recorded.

In the China case, friends and family who came in contact with the doctor have no symptoms. Their test results also came negative.


What are the symptoms?

While the veterinarian in China had nausea and vomiting, symptoms appear within three to seven days.

Some symptoms, according to FIT, are:

  • Fever and chills

  • Muscle pain

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

Some other symptoms which may appear in rare cases are:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Nausea

  • Stomach ache

  • Hiccups

Is there a vaccine for B virus?

No, there is no approved vaccine for the virus.

Who is at a higher risk?

Those who do not come into contact with monkeys generally have a very low risk of contracting the Monkey B virus.

However, veterinarians and veterinary lab workers are at a higher risk and are encouraged to use protective equipment such as lab coats, gloves, and face shields.

(With inputs from FIT)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Quint Insider

or more


3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Insider Benefits
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!