Chinese vet dies of deadly Monkey B virus after catching killer disease in lab

"Concern" has been raised after Chinese authorities confirmed their first human death from the horrific monkey B virus.

The virus is a form of herpes which normally only occurs in primates but can cause nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, fatigue, muscle pains, and blistering in humans.

The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) said the 53 year-old vet died in May after dissecting two dead primates, believed to be macaques, as part of his experimental research.

The man reportedly experienced symptoms of the virus after working on the animals and eventually died in hospital.

The CCDC warned anyone working on primates they could be potentially harmed by the infection, which rarely jumps from monkeys to humans, reports RT.

It is an example of a Zoonotic BV infection, one which jumps from animals to humans, and is causing concern among the scientific community.

A report in the CCDC Weekly Journal said: "Zoonotic BV infections have mainly involved primate veterinarians, animal care personnel, or laboratory researchers in North America. However, there were no fatal or even clinically evident BV infections in China before 2021."

Noting the monkey B virus "might pose a potential zoonotic threat to the occupational workers," the report said it needed to eliminate bacterial and viral infections in rhesus primates developed for laboratory use and increase checks on the animals and lab workers in China.

According to the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) it is "extremely rare" for humans to be infected with the virus, which it says can cause "severe brain damage or death if you do not get treatment immediately".

A spokesman for the CDC said: "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. One case has been documented of an infected person spreading B virus to another person."

Symptoms of the virus often don’t appear until up to a month after infection. News of the first human monkey B virus case in China is a concern as the Covid-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, continues to take lives across the globe.

Several cases of rare or largely unknown diseases have caused alarm in recent months, including the news a Texas resident returning from Nigeria was hospitalised with monkeypox, which has a 1% chance of being fatal. The CDC, however, reassured Americans there was nothing to worry about.

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