Wild monkeys are excreting herpes virus and Florida wants them gone

File photo of a Rhesus Macaque. (Photo: Wikimedia/Binish Roobas)

ON THE SILVER RIVER, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife managers in Florida say they want to remove roaming monkeys from the state because some are excreting a virus that can be dangerous to humans.

A study released Wednesday finds that some of the wild rhesus macaques in Silver Springs State Park not only carry the herpes B virus, but have it in their saliva and other bodily fluids. This poses a potential risk of spreading the disease to any humans who may be bitten or scratched.

Human cases of the virus have been rare, with about 50 documented worldwide, and there have been no known transmissions of it to people from wild rhesus macaques in Florida or elsewhere.

State wildlife officials say they support removing the invasive monkeys from the environment, though they aren't elaborating on how they would do it.

Florida's Fish and Wildlife Commission issued the following statement:

"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. Therefore, the FWC supports active management to remove these threats."

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