Florida Monkeys May Infect Humans With Possibly Fatal Herpes Virus

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

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

These monkeys are native to Asia and are one among Florida's many non-native wildlife species. A study released Wednesday (10 January) claims that their body fluids, including saliva and faeces, contain a deadly virus that is risky to man, reports the AP.

Researchers contemplating a developing populace of rhesus macaques in Silver Springs State Park say that instead of simply conveying herpes B, which is regular in the species, a portion of the monkeys have the infection in their spit and other organic liquids, representing a potential danger of spreading the illness. 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 report cites that worldwide, of the 50 that were bitten or scratched by one of these herpes-infected monkeys, 21 of them died from the virus.

Human instances of the infection have been uncommon, with around 50 archived around the world, and there have been no known transmissions of it to individuals from wild rhesus macaques in Florida, reports the AP. But members of the group "supports the removal of these monkeys from the environment to help reduce the threat they pose", they told the Associated Press. "This can be done in a variety of ways", spokeswoman Carli Segelson said in an email. The monkeys have since been spotted in other areas outside the park, along the Ocklawaha River.

As it can arise, it could bring about acute brain injury or death if the patient isn't dealt with right away, the CDC mentioned.

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. 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. Blood tests showed the monkey carried herpes B. However, a woman who had been bitten by the monkey tested negative for the virus. The researchers behind the study are warning Florida's wildlife agency to treat the monkeys as a serious health concern.

"We don't have any silver bullet; that's the nature of science", Wisely said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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