Tuesday, 23 October, 2018


Killer herpes from Florida monkeys could pass to humans, scientists warn

Future Tarzan from India YouTube SputnikBefriending a Monkey – Lesson From Indian Boy
Patty Aguilar | 13 January, 2018, 02:29

Macaques have released to the Sunshine State's Silver Springs State Park as a tourist attraction almost 100 decades back. 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.

"The headlines have already taken off about this, but there's really a lot we still don't know about herpes B in wild monkeys", says study author Samantha Wisely, a wildlife biologist at the University of Florida.

Non-native rhesus macaques in Florida's Silver Springs State Park have tested positive for herpes B, a potentially fatal disease that is spread through bodily fluids and may be transmissible to humans.

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. 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.

CC BY 2.0  Eden Janine and Jim  Monkey Ultimate Meme This Monkey Getting a Haircut Can Be
CC BY 2.0 Eden Janine and Jim Monkey Ultimate Meme This Monkey Getting a Haircut Can Be

But the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission urges people that come in contact with them to keep a safe distance. A highly-publicized video previous year showed a family being chased by several monkeys at Silver Springs State Park.

Monkeys have also been spotted in Apopka, Fruitland Park and even in Pasco County. After private trapping collected hundreds of monkeys between 2000 and 2012, the population is lower now, with an estimated 175 monkeys in Silver Spring State Park in 2015. Blood samples from 317 macaques revealed that 84 monkeys carried the virus and that the odds of a monkey being infected increased with age.

Wiley said the researchers are interested in seeing the virulency of the pathogens. On a chilly day in November, Capt. Tom O'Lenick, who has navigated the Silver River for 35 years, hollered from his charter boat into the dense surrounding forest.

The presence of the virus in the monkeys' feces and saliva presents issues for park workers and visitors, who could be endangered if bitten or scratched. To get the spit, they dipped cotton swabs in sugar water, and lobbed them at the monkeys. 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. The paper recommends that Florida wildlife managers consider the virus in future policy decisions.

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