Researchers took saliva and fecal samples from the monkeys at the park and found four to 14 percent of the monkeys transmitted the virus through saliva. But 21 of the 50 recorded cases were fatal. The idea was that the monkeys, native to Asia, would be a laugh for tourists passing by.
She says even though the rhesus macaque monkeys can look friendly and be playful at times, they can be deadly from just one simple bite or scratch.
The manager of the park's glass-bottom boat operation released the monkeys to an island in the Silver River, not knowing the monkeys can swim. After private trapping collected hundreds of monkeys between 2000 and 2012, the population is lower now, with an estimated 175 monkeys in Silver Spring State Park in 2015.
Wiley also said there has yet to be a documented case of herpes B in humans from a wild monkey encounter anywhere in the world.More news: You can stream the Winter Olympics in VR on nearly any device
"It is interesting to see oral shedding at all", Civitello said in an email after reviewing the paper.
The monkey population is growing steadily and one UF researcher says it's better to be safe than sorry.
"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", said Thomas Eason, from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A study published on Wednesday in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal fromthe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prompted researchers from the universities of Florida and Washington to warn Florida's wildlife agency that certain monkeys could be considered a public health concern.More news: Manufacturing Activity Expands in December, New Orders Index Nears 70%
"Additionally, macaques can negatively impact Florida native wildlife and pose potential risks to agriculture and recreation".
No word on when FWC will begin discussing how deal with the monkeys.
Rhesus macaques were first introduced to the Florida park in the 1930s in an effort to increase tourism. 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.
Now almost 30% of the monkeys roaming the park are excreting the herpes B virus through saliva and other body fluids. They have been spotted in trees in the Ocala, Sarasota and Tallahassee areas, The Guardian reports.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.More news: Align Technology, Inc. (ALGN) Expected to Announce Quarterly Sales of $395.48 Million