Florida Wildlife Agency Wants To Get Rid Of Infected Monkeys

OCALA, FL - Florida wildlife managers want to remove roaming monkeys from the Silver Springs State Park following a new CDC study that finds some of the animals are excreting a virus that can be dangerous to humans. The findings were published in the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal and prompted researchers to warn Florida's wildlife officials that the infected monkeys are a public health concern.

The journal says that some of the monkeys have the deadly Herpes B virus in their saliva and other bodily fluids. The scientists studied rhesus macaques in the state park.

"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.

"The commission supports the removal of these monkeys from the environment to help reduce the threat they pose. This can be done in a variety of ways," spokeswoman Carli Segelson of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissionsaid told the Associated Press.

There have been no known transmissions of the Herpes B virus to humans from wild rhesus macaques.

The macaques, native to Asia, are one of Florida's many nonnative wildlife species. Their contacts with the public, including last summer when the monkeys chased a family , have made them somewhat notorious critters and have caused two partial park closures since 2016. They have been spotted in trees in the Sarasota and Tallahassee areas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Caption: A rhesus macaques monkey observes kayakers as they navigate along the Silver River in Silver Springs. (Associated Press)

Source : https://patch.com/florida/across-fl/florida-wildlife-agency-wants-get-rid-infected-monkeys

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