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Advances in Virology
Volume 2018, Article ID 5248420, 17 pages
Review Article

Questioning the Extreme Neurovirulence of Monkey B Virus (Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1)

1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
2Department of Anthropology and Center for Studies in Ecology and Demography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to R. Eberle; ude.etatsko@elrebe.r

Received 10 October 2017; Accepted 10 January 2018; Published 13 February 2018

Academic Editor: Anuj Sharma

Copyright © 2018 R. Eberle and L. Jones-Engel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Monkey B virus (Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1; BV) occurs naturally in macaques of the genus Macaca, which includes rhesus and long-tailed (cynomolgus) monkeys that are widely used in biomedical research. BV is closely related to the human herpes simplex viruses (HSV), and BV infections in its natural macaque host are quite similar to HSV infections in humans. Zoonotic BV is extremely rare, having been diagnosed in only a handful of North American facilities with the last documented case occurring in 1998. However, BV is notorious for its neurovirulence since zoonotic infections are serious, usually involving the central nervous system, and are frequently fatal. Little is known about factors underlying the extreme neurovirulence of BV in humans. Here we review what is actually known about the molecular biology of BV and viral factors affecting its neurovirulence. Based on what is known about related herpesviruses, areas for future research that may elucidate mechanisms underlying the neurovirulence of this intriguing virus are also reviewed.