Man in Hong Kong Hospitalized with B Virus Infection After Monkey Attack

Man in Hong Kong Hospitalized with B Virus Infection After Monkey Attack

A 37-year-old man in Hong Kong is in intensive care after being wounded by a wild monkey and contracting a B virus infection. This is the first reported case in Hong Kong but not the first globally.

History and Background

  • First Recorded Case: In 1932, Dr. William Brebner was the first recorded human infected with B virus after being bitten by a macaque monkey.
  • Spread and Mortality: The US CDC has recorded 50 cases globally, with a mortality rate of 70% if untreated.
  • Virus Characteristics: B virus, or herpes virus B, belongs to the herpes family and is classified as a biosafety category 4 virus.

Transmission and Symptoms

  • Transmission: Most cases result from handling captive animals or monkey tissues.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms appear within 2 to 30 days, including blisters, flu-like illness, neurological issues, and respiratory problems.

Recent Case in Hong Kong

  • Location: Kam Shan Country Park, known as Monkey Hill, where macaques attacked the man.
  • Warning: Authorities caution against approaching wild monkeys due to the risk of infection.

Macaques and Human Interaction

  • Global Distribution: Macaques are found worldwide and are adaptable to various environments.
  • Interaction with Humans: Limited instances of B virus transmission from macaques to humans despite frequent contact.

Spread and Containment

  • Human-to-Human Spread: Highly unlikely, with only one documented case linked to the use of a cream.
  • Virus Strain: No evidence of a new strain, indicating no features of a new zoonosis.


While this recent case of B virus infection in Hong Kong raises awareness of potential risks from animal-carried viruses, human-to-human transmission remains unlikely.

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What is the mortality rate of B virus infection if left untreated?
    • A) 50%
    • B) 60%
    • C) 70%
    • D) 80%
    Answer: C) 70%
  2. How was the first recorded human infected with B virus?
    • A) Laboratory accident
    • B) Handling captive animals
    • C) Monkey bite
    • D) Consumption of infected meat
    Answer: C) Monkey bite
  3. Where did the recent case of B virus infection occur in Hong Kong?
    • A) Lion Rock Country Park
    • B) Victoria Park
    • C) Sai Kung Country Park
    • D) Kam Shan Country Park
    Answer: D) Kam Shan Country Park
  4. What caution do authorities give regarding wild monkeys in Hong Kong?
    • A) Encourage feeding them
    • B) Discourage interaction
    • C) Allow close contact
    • D) Provide medical care
    Answer: B) Discourage interaction
  5. How is B virus primarily transmitted to humans?
    • A) Airborne droplets
    • B) Mosquito bites
    • C) Contact with monkey tissues
    • D) Contaminated water
    Answer: C) Contact with monkey tissues