Animal Bite-associated Infections

Microbiology and Treatment

Nicole Thomas; Itzhak Brook


Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2011;9(2):215-226. 

In This Article

Nonhuman Primate Bites

Monkey bites are not common in the USA. They can, however, present in returned travelers and zoo or lab workers. The bites inflicted by the nonhuman primates can be severe, and infection is common. The bacteriology of simian bite wounds is diverse and includes α-hemolytic and other Streptococci, Enterococcus spp., Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterobacteriaceae, Bacteroides, Fusobacterium spp. and Eikenella corrodens have also been isolated.[44] In addition to the risk of a polymicrobial bacterial infection, similar to that seen after human bites, the transmission of viral infections is also possible.

Monkeys may transmit rabies, and prophylaxis should be given if the bite occurred in a rabies-endemic area. Simian herpes virus B (also called Cercopithecine herpes virus 1, herpes B, monkey B virus or herpes virus B) may also be transmitted via the bites of macaque monkeys.[45] Infections with this virus can lead to rapidly fatal encephalomyelitis. It is not known whether postexposure prophylaxis is beneficial, however 14 days of oral valacyclovir is recommended if an individual is scratched or bitten by a macaque.[46]


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