Even as the world is under the grip of devastating Covid 19 pandemic, a new viral infection has been reported from China. The country reported the first human infection and death caused by “Monkey B Virus”. The Veterinary doctor who dissected two dead monkeys in March contacted the virus and died, according to reports.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) in its briefing last week said that the Surgeon died in May after visiting several hospitals. The reports said that the 53-year-old doctor experienced nausea and vomiting from March. A month later fever and neurological symptoms followed. He visited several hospitals but eventually died in May, the CDC said.
The CDC said that the researchers also collected cerebrospinal fluid from the patient for next-generation sequencing and the readings suggested possible alphaherpesvirus infection. The researchers also collected several specimens including blister fluid, blood, nasal swab, throat swab, and plasma to further identify the etiological agent.
The “Monkey B Virus” is found among macaque monkeys. It is present in the saliva, feces, urine, brain or the spinal cord tissue of the monkeys. The virus can survive on surfaces for hours, especially in moist conditions. The transmission risk among the general population is extremely low. However, veterinarians, laboratory workers and others involved in animal care, mainly involving monkeys, are at high risk.
Similar to Covid 19, the “Monkey B Virus” shows flu like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle ache, fatigue and headache. Once a person is infected, he or she might develop blisters on the wound. Other serious symptoms include nausea, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, hiccups and vomiting.
As the disease advances, the victim may experience adverse reactions like swelling of the brain and spinal cord. These lead to neurological disturbances and causes inflammation, which in turn triggers muscle coordination issues and potential brain damage.
How does the Virus spread?
The Monkey B Virus was first isolated in 1932 after being it was spotted in macaques. According to China CDC Weekly, the virus is usually transmitted through direct contact and exchange of bodily fluids. In case the virus jumps from monkeys to humans, the fatality rate is between 70 to 80 per cent.
The US National Library of Medicine has reported that the Virus can attack the central nervous system if transmitted to humans. According to CDC, a person with Monkey B Virus shows symptoms between one day and three weeks after the first contact.
The only way is through timely antiviral intervention. Otherwise, there is no vaccine available to fight the virus. The United States Centres for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) claims that the Monkey B Virus has infected only 50 people since 1932. Out of these, 21 died. It claimed that Monkey B is an extremely rare disease.