Wild Monkey Poop in Florida Could Spread Killer Herpes Strain, Officials Warn


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. - Wildlife managers in Florida say they want to remove roaming monkeys from the state in light of a new study published Wednesday that finds some of the animals are excreting a virus that can be risky to humans.

As a effect, the state's Fish and Wildlife Commission plans to rid the park of the roaming wild primates, which are native to South and Central Asia.

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About 175 free-roaming rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) inhabit the park, descended from a population of around a dozen animals that were released in the 1930s to promote local tourism. "This can be done in a variety of ways", Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson told the Associated Press. Only 50 people have contracted it since 1932, according to the CDC, and there are no documented transmissions from wild macaques.

"Additionally, macaques can negatively impact Florida native wildlife and pose potential risks to agriculture and recreation". The disease results in severe brain damage or death if not treated immediately, and of the 50 infections, 21 proved to be fatal.

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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. They are also excellent reproducers, and so soon enough there were a lot more monkeys roaming the region. Still, he said, while the research confirms the presence of the virus in the monkeys' bodily secretions, more work needs to be done to establish how much virus there is, and how easily transferable it is.

"It is interesting to see oral shedding at all", Civitello said in the story. Blood tests showed the monkey carried herpes B. However, a woman who had been bitten by the monkey tested negative for the virus.

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But there was human error in that plan. In response to this public health threat, Florida state wildlife managers are proposing the removal of the macaques from their adopted habitats. Now, the animals, currently living in the Silver Springs State Park, located an hour outside of Gainesville, might need a new home.