Monkey B Virus: What is it? Symptoms and Prevention

Shalini Singh

Created by Shalini Singh
Updated on Jul 23, 2021

Monkey B Virus What is it Symptoms and Prevention

China reported its first death by another viral infection called the Monkey B virus when a 53 year old Beijing-based male veterinary surgeon contracted the infection while dissecting dead monkeys in March. The victim started showing symptoms in April and died on the 27th May. China refers to it as its first primate-to-human infection.

For health officials in China, it is an unexpected discovery as the doctors have never documented the virus in humans before. 

What is Monkey B Virus

First discovered in 1932, Monkey B virus, also called the B virus (BV) is a rare form of infection. 

Commonly called herpes B, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B, monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys, is rare but often deadly when it spreads to humans. These macaques are a genus of Old World monkeys and act as the natural host. While it is transmitted by macaques, other primates like chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys, can also become infected with the B virus and die from these infections. 

According to CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention since 1932, the virus has infected 50 people, of which 21 have died.

How does it spread?

  1. The Monkey B virus spreads when a person gets in contact with the tissues or fluid of an infected monkey.

  2. Monkey Virus can also infect a person if they are bitten by an infected monkey. 

  3. Being cut by something that is contaminated with the viral particles can also infect the person.

What are its symptoms?

Fever and chills


Rash-itchy wounds

Nausea and vomiting


Body and muscle pain


Neurological symptoms like memory problems, brain fog, etc

Seizures, hemiparesis, hemiplegia, respiratory failure,  ascending paralysis and coma more commonly occur later in the course of infection. 

Does it transmit?

According to the US CDC, infections due to the B virus in humans are rare. These occur as due to exposure to either macaques or their secretions or tissues.

The incubation period for infection in humans after exposure ranges from 2 days to 5 weeks. 


Currently, there are no vaccines available that can protect you against B virus infection.

If you are in a place where there are macaque monkeys, stay away from these monkeys to avoid bites and scratches. Do not touch or feed monkeys.

If you get scratched or bitten by a monkey, you must wash the area thoroughly and use disinfectants to decontaminate the area. 

In case of symptoms, immediately consult a doctor.


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| Aug 12, 2021

It is really a dangerous virus, be careful when contacting animals, sometimes the virus does not affect animals, but it is very dangerous for people when infected.

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