New Delhi: China on Saturday reported the first human infection and death caused by ‘Monkey B Virus’ (BV). A Beijing-based veterinary surgeon was found to be infected with the virus after dissecting two dead monkeys in March, according to reports. The 53-year-old veterinarian started experiencing nausea and vomiting and a month later, fever and neurological symptoms followed. He visited several hospitals but eventually died on May 27, China CDC Weekly revealed Saturday.Also Read - China Sounds COVID-19 Alarm as Delta Variant Spreads to 18 Provinces With Fresh Cases in Beijing

While the Chinese surgeon succumbed to the virus, there have been no reports of human to human transmission so far and contact tracing showed negative results. So what is Monkey B Virus? Is it contagious? How does it spread? What are the signs, symptoms and treatment? Here are all your questions answered. Also Read - Coronavirus' Delta Variant Cripples Asian Countries; China, Thailand & Malaysia Witness Record Surge

What is Monkey B Virus?

The “Monkey B Virus” is found among macaques, a genus of Old World monkeys. It is largely 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. Also Read - In a First, Scientists Detect Light From Behind Black Hole

Is it contagious?

The risk of transmission for the general population remains extremely low. But laboratory workers, veterinarians and others involved in animal care specifically involving monkeys are at high risk.

Symptoms of Monkey B Virus

Just like COVID-19, the “Monkey B Virus” exhibits flu-like symptoms like fever, muscle ache, chills, fatigue, headache. After catching the virus, the person may develop blisters on the wound. Other serious symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and hiccups.

When the disease advances, a person may experience adverse reactions like swelling of the brain and spinal cord. This results in neurological disturbances and causes inflammation, which in turn triggers muscle coordination issues and potential brain damage.

How does Monkey B Virus spread?

Monkey B Virus was initially isolated in 1932 after being 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 70-80%. The US National Library of Medicine claims that B 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.

Treatment of Monkey B Virus

Currently, there is no vaccine to counter the Monkey B Virus. Timely antiviral medications could help in reducing the risk to life.

Here’s what doctors advise in case you get bitten by a monkey:

  • Wash and gently scrub the wound with soap, detergent, or iodine for 15 minutes.
  • Run water over the wound or area for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.