Florida plagued by herpes-riddled monkeys that can kill humans

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Don't Touch the Monkeys! Florida Macaques Carry Virus Lethal to Humans

Human visitors to the park are most likely to be exposed to the disease, and any contact with the monkeys' saliva, urine, or feces could lead to contraction.

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.

Scientists researching a blooming population of rhesus macaques in Silver Springs State Park say that rather than being the carrier of Herpes B which a customary feature in the species, some of the monkeys contain the virus in their saliva and other body fluids which can pose a threat to the humans.

Of the 50 humans that have known to have contracted the herpes B virus, 21 have died. Yet the researchers have not scrutinized this issue in depth.

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

Rhesus Macaques Rhesus Macaque Rhesus monkeys monkeys
Florida monkeys are excreting an infectious disease fatal to humans

"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. 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. In 2015, about 175 macaques were living in Silver Springs State Park. "This can be done in a variety of ways", spokeswoman Carli Segelson said in an email.

Of the 50 cases of herpes B in humans documented worldwide, the people were infected by bites and scratches from monkeys in captivity that were carrying the disease. 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.

Now, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that about 25 percent of the monkeys carry macacine herpesvirus 1 (McHV-1), which causes only mild symptoms, if any, in monkeys but can be deadly in people.

Wiley said the researchers are interested in seeing the virulency of the pathogens. Humans feeding the monkeys is a common activity along the Silver River. Blood tests showed the monkey carried herpes B. However, a woman who had been bitten by the monkey tested negative for the virus. A rhesus monkey on the loose in Pinellas County for more than two years was caught in October 2012.

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

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