Florida plagued by herpes-riddled monkeys that can kill humans

Ruben Hill
January 13, 2018

If you see a monkey in Florida, don't touch it.

"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.

Feral rhesus macaque monkeys at a Florida state park carry a herpes virus that could be risky, possibly deadly, to humans, according to a new study.

Human instances if the virus has been unusual with around 50 registered around the globe and there have been no cases of the virus being spread to humans in from wild rhesus macaques in Florida or elsewhere.

According to the study, 30% of feral macaques located in Florida may be carrying the disease, which is transmittable to humans. 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. However, 21 one of the infected people died from the disease. They also can carry herpes B, which usually doesn't do anything to the monkeys, but sometimes causes cold sores, mouth ulcers, and eye irritation.

"When it does occur, it can result in severe brain damage or death if the patient is not treated immediately", the CDC noted.

"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.

"The commission supports the removal of these monkeys from the environment to help reduce the threat they pose".

These monkeys are native to Asia and are one among Florida's many non-native wildlife species. They draw people to the state's parks and have become notorious for their interactions with humans. (That happened at least 23 times near Silver Springs State Park between 1977 and 1984.) The wild monkeys also poop everywhere, Wisely says, so there could be plenty of chances for exposure that way.

Based on the blood tests, the researchers estimated that about 25 percent of the population carried the virus annually between 2000 and 2012.

Like the herpes viruses that infect humans (HSV-1 and HSV-2), McHV-1 infects nerves and can go dormant. But it is extremely rare - and potentially deadly - in humans.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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