Disease-Infected Monkeys Invade Florida and a Health Risk

Florida has a new invasive species, monkeys. On top of these species being non-native, they pose another problem to the state- they have herpes.

Approximately on thousand of the monkeys are living in the state of Florida today. All of the invasive monkeys are of the same species- feral Rhesus monkeys. Of the total population, wildlife officials have captured some of the Rhesus monkeys over the time span of a few years.

After running tests, wildlife officials found that the majority of the species are carriers of the Herpes B virus. Earlier this week, the Rhesus monkey colony was deemed a health hazard to the public, according to the New York Post.

The Herpes B virus does not cause any harm or any serious conditions to the Rhesus monkeys because it is a common trait that most of them share. In humans, however, Herpes B can cause serious conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Herpes B in humans can lead to neurological impairment or fatal encephalomyelitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, which can result in death. Luckily, Herpes B is very rare in humans.

The feral Rhesus monkeys living in Florida have been known to be aggressive towards people. Tourists and natives have been warned by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to be aware and stay away from the monkeys.

The monkeys live near rivers and attract a lot of tourists. “Everybody who comes on the river for a tour wants to see the monkeys,” said Silver River tour operator Captain Tom O’Lenick.

It seems like all of the United States’ invasive species tend to reside in Florida. Besides these monkeys, Florida has a problem with Burmese pythons, especially in the South Florida Everglades. I also found out that Florida has an issue with Cuban tree frogs. All these invasions should really have Florida wildlife agencies monitoring what comes into the state.

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