China has reported the first human infection and death from a new virus called “Monkey B Virus”. The first person to be infected was a veterinary surgeon and caught the virus after dissecting two dead monkeys in March, according to China CDC Weekly.
A month after being exposed, the 53-year-old veterinarian started experiencing virus-like symptoms including nausea and vomiting. Another month later, the man began experiencing neurological symptoms and fever.
After visiting several hospitals seeking treatment, the doctor died on May 27, as per details made public in China CDC Weekly on Saturday.
In the middle of April, researchers collected samples from the dead patient to ascertain the cause of symptoms. To this end, they collected cerebrospinal fluid from the patient to conduct next-generation sequencing. The reading suggested a potential alphaherpesvirus infection.
In addition, Chinese scientists also collected several samples including blood, nasal and throat swab, plasma, blister fluid, etc to understand the etiological agent responsible for the development of the virus.
After collection, the samples were forwarded to the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) of China’s CDC. The institute detected BV, aricella-zoster virus (VZV), monkeypox virus and orthopoxvirus. Even then, the sample tested positive only for BV, based on a series of RT-PCR tests.
China CDC warned that the virus poses a threat to primate veterinarians, laboratory researchers and people professionally involved in animal care.
when “specific pathogen-free rhesus colonies” emerge. It also advised to improve surveillance in labs and animal care workers.
Currently, the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, which also first emerged in China in the city of Wuhan – spreading to all parts of the world since. While many countries struggle to contain COVID-19, the Monkey Virus sounds like bad news.