Wild monkeys with killer herpes are breeding like crazy in Florida
Florida man’s got nothin’ on these dirty primates.
A quick reminder: there’s a band of feral monkeys running wild in Central Florida that carries a type of herpes lethal to humans. The mischievous simians—who are not shy around people—can transmit deadly disease with just a scratch, nip, or fling of poo.
Last year, experts warned that the rhesus macaques are a public health threat. It now seems that the monkey business is likely to get worse, with a wildlife expert revealing that their population is set to double in the next few years.
“It’s going to be a problem… Continual growth of that population is going to occur without intervention,” Steve Johnson told Florida ABC-affiliate WFTV in a report published January 3. Johnson is a professor and wildlife expert at the University of Florida and part of a team of researchers that has followed the monkeys for years.
Early last year, Johnson and colleagues published a study estimating that about 25 percent of Florida’s population of free-wheeling monkeys carries the deadly virus, known as macacine herpesvirus 1 (McHV-1), herpes B, or monkey B virus. The study appeared in the February issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The monkey’s herpes affects them much like human herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2) affects us. The virus infects nerves and can go dormant until the immune system is stressed or weakened, at which point the virus can erupt, typically around the mouth or genitals.
But in humans, McHV-1 can cause a flu-like illness that can progress to neurological problems, such as double vision and paralysis. At that point, an infected person is likely to die of the infection....MORE