Florida plagued by herpes-riddled monkeys that can kill humans

Enlarge  Rhesus Macaques in a tree Getty | India

They were first introduced to Silver Springs State Park in the mid-1930s, when they were intentionally released into the park to attract tourists.

Florida is anxious about monkeys. 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.

Visitors to Florida's Silver Springs State Park should avoid monkeying around with the reserve's feral macaques; officials warn that the primates carry a strain of the herpes virus that can be fatal to humans.

The scientists also discovered that as many as 14 percent of the monkeys shed DNA from the virus in their saliva, presenting a risk of virus transmission to humans, the researchers reported in a new study, which was published online in the February 2018 issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

State wildlife officials say they're taking this problem seriously, after a report from the centers for disease control.

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"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 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation 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. "This can be done in a variety of ways", another spokesperson for the commission said. The report about the same also consists that there is a need to remove these monkey from the reach of people, which can be a hard task to do. They have been spotted in trees in the Sarasota and Tallahassee areas.

To date, only 50 cases of herpes B have been documented in humans in the US since the disease was first identified in 1932, and numerous infections resulted from animal scratches or bites, according to the CDC.

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.

"It is interesting to see oral shedding at all", Civitello said in an email after reviewing the paper. Humans feeding the monkeys is a common activity along the Silver River. A rhesus monkey on the loose in Pinellas County for more than two years was caught in October 2012.

Samantha Wisely, a University of Florida disease ecologist and one of the study's authors, said whether the monkeys pose a significant public health threat is still unknown. They draw people to the state's parks and have become notorious for their interactions with humans.

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