China reports its first human death from rare monkey B virus

Rare and deadly pathogen

China says it has recorded its first primate-to-human infection and death involving the monkey B virus, a rare and deadly pathogen that remains little-understood in some parts of the world.

The victim was a 53-year-old veterinarian from Beijing who contracted the infection while dissecting dead monkeys in early March, according to China’s CDC Weekly. *The patient started showing symptoms in April and died on May 27, officials said. Two close contacts have since tested negative for the virus. Symptoms include nausea, fever and vomiting about a month after the infection. Neurological symptoms started to appear soon afterward, prompting health officials to run a battery of tests. They ultimately found the monkey B virus in the patient’s blood and saliva, China’s CDC said. They were unable to save him from the disease.

It was an unusual discovery for health officials in China, where doctors have never documented the virus in humans before.

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