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B-virus from pet macaque monkeys: an emerging threat in the United States?

Centers for Disease Control
Publication Date
  • Research Article


Of primary concern when evaluating macaque bites are bacterial and B-virus infections. B-virus infection is highly prevalent (80% to 90%) in adult macaques and may cause a potentially fatal meningoencephalitis in humans. We examined seven nonoccupational exposure incidents involving 24 persons and eight macaques. Six macaques were tested for herpes B; four (67%) were seropositive. A common observation was that children were more than three times as likely to be bitten than adults. The virus must be assumed to be a potential health hazard in macaque bite wounds; this risk makes macaques unsuitable as pets.

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