Rhesus monkey
Rhesus monkey Pixabay

According to a new study report published in 'Emerging Infectious Diseases', a publication run by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been learned that nearly 30 percent of the feral rhesus macaque monkeys living in and outside of Florida state parks are infected with a strain of herpes which is exceptionally dangerous to human beings. Wildlife officials in the state have issued a strong warning in connection with this issue, and have asked for the removal of these free-roaming monkeys in the state.

The issue is very serious, as the herpes B virus excreted by these monkeys may sometimes turn fatal for human beings. Herpes B virus infection is quite rare in humans, and as of now, only 50 cases are reported all over the world. In these reported cases, the virus has reached the bloodstreams of humans as they were working with macaque monkeys in laboratories.

Fortunately, no deaths have been reported so far due to the infection of this virus. "Beware of Florida Monkeys, they could give you herpes. No human deaths have been reported from contracting McHV-1 from free-ranging macaques, suggesting the risk for transmission from these animals is low. However, immunologic surveillance, reporting, and diagnostic investigations in humans are lacking," wrote the authors of this study.

The authors further added that people who visit Silverspring State Park should be very careful, as the chances of getting infected with saliva from macaque bites and scratches are quite high. He also hinted the possibility of getting infected due to the contact with macaque monkeys' urine and feces.

It was during the 1930s that Macaque monkeys were first brought to Florida. The native place of these monkeys is Asia, and they were brought to Florida as an effort to promote tourism. As per latest statistics, there are more than 175 rhesus macaque monkeys in the Silverspring park. So, the very next time you encounter a macaque monkey, stay away to avoid getting infected.