Herpesvirus papio 2 (HVP-2) was diagnosed in an eastern black and white colobus monkey that was presented for acute onset of ataxia and inappetence, which rapidly progressed to apnea followed by fatal cardiac arrest. During the clinical course of the disease, abnormalities were limited to a precipitous decline in white cell numbers and a spinal tap consistent with an acute viral infection (marked lymphohistiocytic inflammation). At necropsy, there were numerous petechiae within the white matter tracts of the brain; microscopic lesions of acute multifocal necrosis and hemorrhage with prominent inclusion body formation in the brain and adrenal gland were strongly indicative of an acute herpesvirus infection. A specific etiologic diagnosis of HVP-2 was made based on serology, PCR of postmortem tissues, live virus isolation from the lung, and identification of the virus in histologic lesions with immunocytochemistry. Phylogenetic tree analysis grouped the colobus monkey isolate of HVP-2 with neuroinvasive strains of the virus. This virus was naturally transmitted to the colobus monkey from a nearby colony of baboons, the natural host of HVP-2. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first documented case of natural transmission of HVP-2 from a baboon to a non-host species. HVP-2 should be considered a differential in cases of acute encephalopathy in animals, particularly primates, exposed to baboons.
1. Eberle R, Black DH, Lipper S, Hilliard JK. Herpesvirus papio 2, and SA8-like α-herpesvirus of baboons. Arch Virol. 1995;140:529–545.
2. Eberle R, Black DH, Blewett EL, White GL. Prevalence of herpesvirus papio 2 in baboons and identification of immunogenic viral polypeptides. Lab Anim Sci. 1997;47:256–262.
3. Eberle R, Black DH, Lehenbauer A, White GL. Shedding and transmission of baboon herpesvirus papio 2 (HVP2) in a breeding colony. Lab Anim Sci. 1998;48:23–28.
4. Levin JL, Hilliard JK, Lipper SL, Butler TM, Goodwin WJ. A naturally occurring epizootic of simian agent 8 in the baboon. Lab Anim Sci. 1998;38:394–397.
5. Rogers KM, Ealey KA, Ritchey JW, Black DH, Eberle R. Pathogenicity of different baboon herpesvirus papio 2 isolates is characterized by either extreme neurovirulence or complete apathogenicity. J Virol. 2003;77:10731–10739.
6. Rogers KM, Ritchey JW, Payton M, Black DH, Eberle R. Neuropathogenesis of herpesvirus papio 2 in mice parallels infection with Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 (B virus) in humans. Clin Infect Dis. 2006;87:267–276.
7. Tyler SD, Peters GA, Severini A. Complete genome sequence of cercopithecine herpesvirus 2 (SA8) and comparison with other simplexviruses. J Virol. 2005;331:429–440.
8. Weigler BJ. Biology of B virus in macaque and human hosts: a review. Clin Infect Dis. 1992;14:555–567.