A controlled seroprevalence survey of primate handlers for evidence of asymptomatic herpes b virus infection

Alison G. Freifeld, Julia Hilliard, Janice Southers, Martha Murray, Barbara Savarese, James M. Schmitt, Stephen E. Straus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Herpes B virus (BV) is a common cause of recurring mucocutaneous infections in monkeys of the genus Macaca. Like its human counterpart, herpes simplex virus (HSV), BV establishes lifelong latency and can be reactivated from infected monkeys symptomatically or asymptomatically. Incidental infection of humans handling BV-shedding monkeys can result in fatal meningoencephalitis. To determine whether humans exposed to infected monkeys can acquire asymptomatic BV infections, 480 subjects were evaluated in a controlled seroprevalence study. Sera from 321 primate handlers, including many with repeated injuries inflicted by Macaca monkeys, and 159 people never exposed to monkeys were tested in blinded fashion by both competition ELISA and Western blot to determine the prevalence of BV and HSV seropositivity. Although 293 persons proved positive for HSV antibodies, no primate handlers or control subjects showed BV-specific antibody responses. There is no serologic evidence that BV causes asymptomatic infections in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1034
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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