B virus: An infectious agent commonly found among macaque monkeys, including rhesus macaques, pig-tailed macaques, and cynomolgus monkeys. Monkeys infected with this virus usually have no or mild symptoms. In humans, however, B virus infection can result in a fatal encephalomyelitis. B virus disease in humans is extremely rare, but often fatal -- an estimated 80% of untreated patients die of complications associated with the infection.
Persons at greatest risk for B virus infection include veterinarians, laboratory workers, and others who have close contact with Old World macaques or monkey cell cultures. Infection is typically caused by animal bites, scratches, or exposure to the tissues or secretions of macaques. The virus is also known as Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016