Numerous rhesus macaque monkeys at a Florida state park carry a unsafe herpes virus that could potentially spread to humans through their excrement, according to a new study. However, the researchers say the issue has not been thoroughly studied. Since 1932, 50 people have contracted it and 21 of those cases were fatal, according to the CDC.
"When it occurs, it can bring about serious mind harm or demise if the patient isn't dealt with quickly", a CDC rep says in an announcement. 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. "This can be done in a variety of ways", spokeswoman Carli Segelson said in an email. The virus could pose a serious threat to public health and safety, the CDC said. Unsurprisingly, the Florida monkeys are a popular wildlife attraction, though many who see them may not be aware of the risks of close contact.
"The commission supports the removal of these monkeys from the environment to help reduce the threat they pose". They have been spotted in trees in the Ocala, Sarasota and Tallahassee areas, The Guardian reports. When the disease does occur, however, it can result in brain damage or death.
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. 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.More news: Former Catalan President Steps Down as Leader of Separatist Party
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She says even though the rhesus macaque monkeys can look friendly and be playful at times, they can be deadly from just one simple bite or scratch. It is unknown how much of the virus is in the saliva and bodily fluids of the Florida monkeys, and if the virus can indeed be transferred to humans through contact.
Previous studies of the Silver Springs Park rhesus populations had identified herpes B in the animals, according to a study published in May 2016 by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
The rhesus macaques are an invasive species native to Southeast Asia.
While there are no official statistics on monkey attacks on humans in the park, a state-sponsored study in the 1990s found 31 monkey-human incidents, with 23 resulting in human injury between 1977 and 1984. The paper recommends that Florida wildlife managers consider the virus in future policy decisions.