Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California
Reprints or correspondence: Dr. Benjamin J. Weigler, Department of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606.
B virus is a zoonotic alphaherpesvirus enzootic in Asian monkeys of the genus Macaca. At least 25 cases of human disease caused by B virus have occurred to date, leading to death in 16 instances. Advances in the technology available for the diagnosis of B virus infection and in the agents for its treatment are improving the prognosis for cases in human beings. Efforts are under way at several institutions in the United States to establish B virus-free colonies of rhesus macaques for use in biomedical research. Unfortunately, the epidemiology of B virus in group-housed macaques is poorly understood. The elucidation of factors important in the transmission of B virus between monkeys will greatly enhance efforts to eradicate this virus and may help to minimize further human exposure to the agent.