Florida monkeys could pass killer herpes to people

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Blood samples from 317 macaques revealed that 84 monkeys carried the virus and that the odds of a monkey being infected increased with age.

Florida wildlife officials responded to the study with vows to remove macaque monkeys from Silver Springs and other parts of the state.

Researchers contemplating a developing populace of rhesus macaques in Silver Springs State Park say that instead of simply conveying herpes B, which is regular in the species, a portion of the monkeys have the infection in their spit and other organic liquids, representing a potential danger of spreading the illness. Since 1932, 50 individuals have contracted it and 21 of these cases have been fatal, according to the CDC. Yet the researchers have not scrutinized this issue in depth. That makes them a public health threat, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers concluded in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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

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Eason could not augment on what particular organizational strategies the state may appoint but a spokeswoman said that the enterprise assists purifying the state of the fast growing creatures. They have been spotted in trees in the Ocala, Sarasota and Tallahassee areas, The Guardian reports.

"When it does occur, it can result in severe brain damage or death if the patient is not treated immediately", said a spokesperson for the CDC.

"It is interesting to see oral shedding at all", Civitello said in an email after reviewing the paper. "Human visitors to the park are most likely to be exposed", wrote the study's authors, "through contact with saliva from macaque bites and scratches or from contact with virus shed through urine and feces".

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. "Monkey, monkey, monkey!" he cried. A rhesus monkey on the loose in Pinellas County for more than two years was caught in October 2012.

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Minutes later another troop was running along the opposite riverbank.

But there was human error in that plan.

The manager of the park's glass-bottom boat operation released the monkeys to an island in the Silver River, not knowing the monkeys can swim. They draw people to the state's parks and have become notorious for their interactions with humans. The virus could pose a serious threat to public health and safety, the CDC said.

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

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