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Florida Vows to Remove Monkeys From State Park After Report They Carry Deadly Herpes

From TIME - January 11, 2018

Many of the rhesus macaque monkeys at a Florida state park carry a dangerous herpes virus that could potentially spread to humans through their excrement, according to a new study.

As a result, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has said it plans to remove the monkeys, which are native to South and Central Asia, from the park.

Macaques were introduced to Floridas Silver Springs State Park as a tourist attraction almost 100 years ago. But today, according to research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, as many as 30% of the primates roaming the park are shedding the herpes B virus through saliva and other bodily fluids, making them a public health threat.

While herpes B is relatively commonand asymptomaticamong macaques and other animals, its exceedingly rareand severein humans. Only 50 people have contracted it since 1932, according to the CDC, and there are no documented transmissions from wild macaques. When the disease does occur, however, it can result in brain damage or death. Twenty-one of the 50 recorded cases were fatal.

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