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Monkey infects Kyushu worker with B virus, first case in Japan

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KAGOSHIMA–A worker at an animal experiment facility here was infected with the herpes B virus through contact with a monkey, the Kagoshima city office said on Nov. 28.

It was the first herpes B virus infection in a human in Japan, the city said.

The employee went to a medical facility here after suffering from a headache and fever in February, the city said.

After receiving a report about the employee’s condition from the medical facility, the city, health ministry and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases started an inspection in late November and confirmed the B virus infection.

The B virus falls under Category IV of the Infectious Disease Law, which includes rabies. Medical facilities that detect Category IV diseases must report the cases to the health centers.

The B virus can cause serious symptoms, including brain fever, and even lead to death.

The city has not disclosed information about the infected employee’s condition.

Kagoshima city officials said there are no concerns that the B virus has spread to others.

“The facility is taking adequate measures against infections, and the B virus does not infect people through the air,” an official said.

The city will continue investigating the route of the infection.

More than half of the monkeys of the genus Macaca, including rhesus macaque, are believed to be potentially infected with the B virus.

About 50 people have been infected with the B virus worldwide.

(This article was written by Kotaro Ose and Minori Kiwaki.)

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