Wild Monkeys Infected with Fatal Herpes Virus in Central Florida Would Double by 2022

Experts fear about the growing population of monkeys in central Florida, as these primates carry a dangerous virus – Herpes B. The virus can be harmful to human beings and may lead to fatal brain disease. The group of rhesus macaques, an old species in monkeys, was brought to Silver Spring State Park in Central Florida around 1930s. The facility placed them on a small island, but they didn’t stay there. The monkeys lived in various parts of Central Florida. According to research published in the journal Wildlife Management, the population of monkeys could double by 2022.

Most of the monkeys at the park carry the strain of Herpes B virus. However, the virus can spread through a bite or a scratch. According to CDC, the virus can lead to severe brain damage and death if left untreated. The infection can spread from monkeys to a human if any contact of bodily fluid takes place. Although, the current population of monkeys in Silver Springs could be around 200. But in the upcoming four to five years, the number may reach 400. Johnson, a team member who studied monkeys for years, said the primates might become uncontrollable. Thus the state may require to decide what to do with the animals.

Johnson recommends to eliminate the group from the animals or sterilize the females and put them back. The second alternative may be dangerous to the people who will trap the animals. The rising number of primates are going to be a big problem. The CDC reported 50 cases of the disease since 1932. The group of people got an infection after being scratched or bitten by an infected monkey. Reports reveal that more than half of those people resulted in death, and remaining suffered permanent damage in the brain. Experts from the University of Florida warned that the growing population could introduce a higher risk to park visitors. The government should take suitable public health measures to avoid the worsening of the situation. But many animals cause disease; it doesn’t mean that we should kill them.

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