Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Florida Monkeys May Infect Humans With Possibly Fatal Herpes Virus

Florida Monkeys May Infect Humans With Possibly Fatal Herpes Virus

All infected people were infected by contact with monkeys in labs.

Wildlife managers in Florida say they need to expel wandering monkeys from the state in light of another investigation distributed Wednesday that discovers a portion of the creatures are discharging an infection that can be risky to people.

Numerous rhesus macaque monkeys at a Florida state park carry a unsafe herpes virus that could potentially spread to humans through their excrement, according to a new study. While it is common among macaques, the study, which was published in the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, claims the virus can be transmitted to humans and poses several health risks. Yet the researchers have not scrutinized this issue in depth.

State wildlife officials reiterated that they have their prime concern over this issue.

"Without management action, the presence and continued expansion of non-native rhesus macaques in Florida can result in serious human health and safety risks including human injury and transmission of disease", Thomas Eason, assistant executive director of the commission, said in a statement.

Eason could not augment on what particular organizational strategies the state may appoint but a spokeswoman said that the enterprise assists purifying the state of the fast growing creatures. When the disease does occur, however, it can result in brain damage or death.

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The findings suggest a public health concern, said David Civitello, an Emory University biology professor who was not involved in the study. A study released Wednesday (10 January) claims that their body fluids, including saliva and faeces, contain a deadly virus that is unsafe to man, reports the AP. They had contracted it through monkey bites and scratches, according to the CDC. "Monkey, monkey, monkey!" he cried.

Minutes later another troop was running along the opposite riverbank.

About 175 free-roaming rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) inhabit the park, descended from a population of around a dozen animals that were released in the 1930s to promote local tourism.

But there was human error in that plan.

Previous studies of the Silver Springs Park rhesus populations had identified herpes B in the animals, according to a study published in May 2016 by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). While there are no official statistics on monkeys attacking humans in the park, a state-sponsored study conducted in the 1990s found that there were at least 31 incidents reported resulting in human injury between 1977 and 1984.

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