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A colony of rhesus monkeys that was established in Florida’s Silver River State Park in 1938 has been declared a public health hazard after the majority of its members tested positive for the Herpes B virus. Monkeys infected with the virus present either no or only mild symptoms, but in humans, can lead to hyperesthesias, ataxia, diplopia, agitation, ascending flaccid paralysis and death. Hundreds of rare wild monkeys — some carrying herpes — are on the loose in Florida after a tour guide brought the spunky critters to the state long ago. Wildlife officials said that three pairs of Rhesus monkeys were transported to a park near Ocala in the 1930s by tour operator Colonel Tooey after a “Tarzan” flick sparked a fascination with the creature.
But the breed has since boomed and more than 1,000 of the monkeys now live in the state, wildlife officials say.
State officials have caught more than 700 of the monkeys in the past decade — most of which tested positive for the herpes-B virus.
Current Silver River tour operator Captain Tom O’Lenick, 65, defended transporting the animals, claiming people love them.
The Raw Story reported on Friday that an island-dwelling colony of Rhesus monkeys left their home and could spread a deadly herpes virus in Florida.


The original pair of monkeys was brought over to an island on the Silver River in the 1930s after the popularity of Tarzan movies. Many of these monkeys are carriers of the Herpes B virus, which is not uncommon in the species. Tour operator Captain Tom O’Lenick defended the presence of the monkeys despite the deadly infection they could spread through direct contact with humans. This news comes scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute announced a vaccine for an HIV-like infection in monkeys known as SIVmac239 according to CBS News. The vaccine could be a step to helping to cure HIV in humans, but more studies are needed before any tests can be done. Rachel ChildsWeird News ExaminerRachel Childs is a graduate from Colorado State University with degrees in journalism and tourism.
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Feel-good news: ‘Cops Suck’ tattoo tickles police in Bangor, MaineWho says cops don’t have a sense of humor? Persons at greatest risk for B virus infection are veterinarians, laboratory workers, and others who have close contact with Old World macaques or monkey cell cultures. We don't shy away from controversy, and will publish anything that interests us and matches our focus for the site.


And since the now-feral monkeys learned to swim, the colony is threatening to encroach into neighboring human communities. B virus is also commonly referred to as herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B.The virus is found among macaque monkeys, including rhesus macaques, pig-tailed macaques, and cynomolgus monkeys (also called crab-eating or long-tailed macaques). Submit your article contributions and participate in the world's largest independent online news community today!
Macaques housed in primate facilities usually become B virus positive by the time they reach adulthood.
However, infection in macaques can only be transmitted during active viral shedding through body fluids.Infection with B virus is extremely rare in humans. When it does occur, the infection can result in severe brain damage or death if the patient is not treated soon after exposure (see Risks for Infection and Treatment sections). Infection in humans is typically caused by animal bites or scratches or by mucosal contact with body fluid or tissue.



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