Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



In the fall of 1964 a newly observed febrile hemorrhagic disease caused the death of 223 monkeys in the NIH quarantine colony of 1,050 animals. Three species were affected. The disease affected animals in 16 of 18 rooms housing the colony. The manner of spread of the disease through the colony is not known but several possible ways have been considered. Clinical features of the disease included rapid onset, early fever, mild facial edema, anorexia, adipsia, dehydration, proteinuria, cyanosis, skin petechiae, melena, epistaxis, and occasionally retrobulbar hemorrhages. Therapeutic measures, consisting of broad-spectrum antibiotics, vitamins, forced feeding, and oral or parenteral electrolyte administration, were ineffective. Mortality among infected animals was thought to be 100%. However, experimental-transmission studies indicated that some animals survived clinical illness. A similar outbreak had occurred among rhesus monkeys newly imported to a primate colony in the U.S.S.R. shortly before the NIH outbreak; this suggests a common source for this disease, since both colonies received animals from the same Indian supplier.

Transmission studies with rhesus monkeys established that the disease was contagious between animals within the same and neighboring cages and that the tissues of dying monkeys contained the causative virus agent.


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