Treatment for Exposure to Nonhuman Primates

Occupational Health Clinic
September 29, 2011

Personnel who are working with a macaque (a specific species of non-human primate) may be exposed to the simian herpes B virus if they sustain a bite or needle stick, a scratch from the animal or a dirty cage, or a splash with the animal's blood or body fluids.

Exposure kits are located throughout the non-human primate facilities.  Be familiar with their locations.

Here are steps to take if you sustain a bite, scratch, needle stick or splash contaminated with macaque's blood or body fluids:

  • Flush the wound with water, then scrub the area for 15 minutes with soap as directed in the exposure kit
  • If it is a splash to the eye, flush the eye with water continually for 15 minutes.  Use an eyewash station if possible
  • Immediately (do not delay!) follow up at the Occupational Health Clinic (OHC), if after-hours, go to the Vanderbilt Adult Emergency Department
  • If you are going to the Emergency Department, take an information packet provided in the exposure kit and bring it with you

OHC (or the ED) will provide medical evaluation and treatment, including antiviral medication as indicated for the risk level of the exposure.

OHC will treat any macaque exposure in the Vanderbilt animal facility - including faculty, staff, students and visitors.  The important thing is to seek care quickly, even if you believe it is low risk.

Additional information:

Simian Herpes B

Simian Herpes B Exam