Friday, 25 May, 2018


Florida Monkeys May Infect Humans With Possibly Fatal Herpes Virus

Florida Monkeys May Infect Humans With Possibly Fatal Herpes Virus Florida Monkeys May Infect Humans With Possibly Fatal Herpes Virus
Noah Ferguson | 13 January, 2018, 08:27

A research team studied several rhesus monkeys from the Silver Springs State Park, and found they carried the Herpes B virus. This creates them a public wellness hazard, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigators concluded within the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.Herpes B is relatively common and asymptomatic, among macaques along with different critters.

The researchers estimate that up to 30 percent of the scores of Florida's feral macaques may be actively excreting the virus. But 21 of the 50 recorded cases were fatal.

"Human visitors to the park are most likely to be exposed ... through contact with saliva from macaque bites and scratches or from contact with virus shed through urine and feces", the paper's authors wrote.

At the end of the report's abstract, it says, "Management plans should be put in place to limit transmission of [herpes B virus] from these macaques".

These monkeys are native to Asia and are one among Florida's many non-native wildlife species.

Macaques were introduced to Florida's Silver Springs State Park as a tourist attraction nearly 100 years ago.

The manager of the park's glass-bottom boat operation released the monkeys to an island in the Silver River, not knowing the monkeys can swim. They have been spotted in trees in the Sarasota and Tallahassee areas.

Roaming monkeys in Florida are being removed by the state's wildlife managers because of the growing fear that they are excreting a virus that can be risky to humans. A new study, out in the February issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, reveals that the population is also spreading a risky type of herpes.

Wiley said the researchers are interested in seeing the virulency of the pathogens.

The monkey population is growing steadily and one UF researcher says it's better to be safe than sorry.

Thomas Eason, assistant executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said in a statement that without the organization the specter of sustainable and extended enlargement of non-resident rhesus macaques in Florida can lead to consequential human health and safety probability involving human damage or transferal of disease.

No word on when FWC will begin discussing how deal with the monkeys.

Rhesus macaques were first introduced to the Florida park in the 1930s in an effort to increase tourism. A highly-publicized video previous year showed a family being chased by several monkeys at Silver Springs State Park.

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