Outbreak of Encephalitis Caused by Human Herpesvirus Type 1 (HSV-1) in NonHuman Captive Primates in São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Outbreak of Encephalitis Caused by Human Herpesvirus Type 1 (HSV-1) in NonHuman Captive Primates in São Paulo, SP, Brazil

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Marcia Helena Braga Catroxo
Biological Institute, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


Human herpesvirus type 1 (HSV-1), a Alphaherpesvirinae, has a broad range of cross-species infectivity with considerable variation in expression and disease severity among different hosts. Infection in humans, results in mild disease characterized by mucocutaneous lesions. In some species of nonhuman primates, however, the infection can be lethal. Transmission occurs through food contaminated by humans with labial herpes, offered to monkeys, constituting an important anthropozoonosis. In this study, we describe the occurrence of two outbreaks of encephalitis caused by HSV-1, occurring in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The first outbreak affected a Brown howler monkey and three marmosets. The Brown howler monkey had tongue ulcers and enteritis and the marmosets were found dead without presenting clinical symptomatology. The second outbreak affected ten marmosets that were found dead suddenly in the enclosure without presenting symptoms or clinical signs. Organ fragments were processed for transmission electron microscopy, histopathology and inoculation in cell culture techniques. Ballooning degeneration, foci of monolymphocytic inflammatory reaction, corpuscle of eosinophilic inclusion, monolymphocytic meningitis and desquamative monolymphocytic enterocolitis, were the main lesions observed by histopathology. By the negative staining technique, enveloped and non-enveloped, herpesvirus particles were found, measuring 120-200 nm in diameter in all samples of organ fragments. The presence of aggregates formed by antigenantibody complex, characterized the positive result obtained in the immunoelectron microscopy technique for HSV-1. Using the immunocytochemistry technique, the antigen-antibody interaction was strongly enhanced by the colloidal gold particles over the herpesvirus, confirming the presence of HSV-1. Intranuclear incomplete particles measuring 80-100 nm in diameter and complete or enveloped scattered in the cytoplasm, were visualized in ultrathin sections of liver and cell culture measuring 140 nm of diameter. Immature particles budding from cell membranes were also observed. In viral isolation in VERO cells, typical cytopathic effect was observed in brain samples.

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Article Type
Research Article
Publication history
Received: Mon 10, Feb 2020
Accepted: Fri 28, Feb 2020
Published: Thu 12, Mar 2020
© 2021 Marcia Helena Braga Catroxo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.31487/j.CMR.2020.01.02