Florida Has Lots of Wild Monkeys With Herpes—and That Number Could Double Soon

iStock.com/Michael Warren
iStock.com/Michael Warren

The wild monkeys in Florida may be cute, but many of them carry a strain of herpes that can be deadly to humans who get scratched or bitten by one, according to WFTV.com. More than a quarter of the rhesus macaques that live in Silver Springs State Park are infected with the herpes B virus, and the total population of monkeys is expected to double from 200 to 400 within the next three years.

Also known as the monkey B virus, herpes B is extremely rare in humans but can turn deadly if infection occurs. In humans, symptoms may include small blisters, fever, flu-like aches, chills, headache, and pain or itching at the site of the wound. Only 50 people have contracted herpes B since the virus was discovered in 1932, but 21 of those were fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Macaques, which are believed to be natural hosts for the virus, experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Still, the anticipated population boom concerns wildlife experts, especially as the monkeys migrate to other parts of Central Florida. The animals, which are native to Asia, were first brought to the Florida park in the 1930s as part of an attraction that has since shut down. In 2015, a monkey was spotted more than 20 miles south of the park on the roof of an elementary school.

University of Florida professor Steve Johnson tells WFTV the state has a couple of options in terms of how to proceed. It could remove the monkeys from their environment, or remove the females, sterilize them, and release them back into the wild. However, the latter option would likely be expensive and risky for those who handle the monkeys.

"It's going to be a problem … continual growth of that population is going to occur without intervention," Johnson says. Until the state reaches a decision, park visitors are advised not to touch or feed the monkeys—which is generally good advice when encountering any wild animal.

[h/t The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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Poike/iStock via Getty Images Plus
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Do Dogs Get Headaches?

Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images

Like babies, dogs can be hard to read in the medical ailment department. Are they listless because they’re tired, or because they’re sick? What’s behind their whining? And can they suffer that most human of debilitating conditions, the headache?

Gizmodo polled several veterinarians and animal behavior specialists to find out, and the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Although a dog can’t express discomfort in a specific way, particularly if it doesn’t involve limping, animal experts know that canines that have diagnosed brain tumors or encephalitis can also be observed to have a high heart rate, a sign of physical pain. According to Tim Bentley, an associate professor of veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at Purdue Veterinary Medicine, administering painkillers will bring a dog’s heart rate down. If signs of physical distress also decrease, a headache was likely involved.

Unfortunately, not all dogs may offer overt signals they’re feeling some brain pain. According to Adam Boyko, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs instinctively try to mask pain to avoid showing weakness.

Ultimately, dogs have many of the same central neural pathways as humans, which can likely go awry in some of the same ways. But the kind of persistent headaches owing to head colds or hangovers are probably rare in dogs. And while it goes without saying, they definitely don't need any of your Advil.

[h/t Gizmodo]