|Description:||The rhesus monkey, Macaca mulatta, photographed here was perched atop a rock wall somewhere in northern India during a 1974 trip made by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) personnel to that region.|
B virus infection is caused by Macacine herpesvirus 1 (formerly Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 [CHV-1]), an alphaherpesvirus closely related to herpes simplex virus. B virus is also commonly referred to as herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B.
The virus is commonly found among macaque monkeys, including rhesus macaques, pig-tailed macaques, and cynomolgus monkeys (also called crab-eating or long-tailed macaques), any of which can harbor latent B virus infection and appear to be natural hosts for the virus. Monkeys infected with B virus usually have no or only mild symptoms. In addition, rabbits, guinea pigs, and mice can be experimentally infected with B virus.
Infection with B virus is extremely rare in humans; however, when it does occur, the infection can result in severe neurologic impairment or fatal encephalomyelitis if the patient was not treated soon after exposure.