Killer herpes from Florida monkeys could pass to humans, scientists warn

Killer herpes from Florida monkeys could pass to humans, scientists warn

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. While scientists work to uncover whether the virus is transmissible to humans, policymakers are making plans to control the invasive species.

Feral rhesus macaque monkeys in a Florida state park carry a herpes simplex virus which may be harmful to humans, as per a different study.

The herpes B infection has been deadly to 21 of the 50 people known to have contracted it from macaque nibbles and scratches while working with the creatures in research centers, as indicated by the CDC. Yet the researchers have not scrutinized this issue in depth.

"The headlines have already taken off about this, but there's really a lot we still don't know about herpes B in wild monkeys", says study author Samantha Wisely, a wildlife biologist at the University of Florida.

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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 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. The bottom line is that "these macaques can shed McHV-1, putting humans at risk for exposure to this potentially fatal pathogen", the researchers conclude.

Rhesus monkeys come from Asia, and are one of the biggest non-native wildlife species in Florida. They like to roam outside parks and have even been spotted in cities.

There are more than 200 rhesus macaque monkeys throughout Silver Springs State Park in Marion County since there first arrival to the area since the mid 1930's for a movie shoot. In humans, herpes B causes a devastating brain disease that the CDC says is deadly about 70 percent of the time - especially without treatment. Blood samples from 317 macaques revealed that 84 monkeys carried the virus and that the odds of a monkey being infected increased with age. "This can be done in a variety of ways", another spokesperson for the commission said.

The weird thing is that the reported cases of herpes B are mainly in lab workers or veterinarians who caught the virus from a bite or exposure to infected bodily fluids at work. To get the spit, they dipped cotton swabs in sugar water, and lobbed them at the monkeys.

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