The rhesus macaques, native to Asia, were introduced to the state in the 1930s during the Tarzan craze as an effort to boost tourism.
Today, around 175 of these monkeys roam Silver Springs State Park, but they’ve spread elsewhere, roaming as far as the Ocala, Sarasota, and Tallahassee regions.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests an alarming number of these monkeys are excreting a form of herpes, called herpes B virus (or macacine herpesvirus 1 (McHV-1)), which can be dangerous to humans—even fatal.
Collectively, these samples suggested that as many as 30 percent of the animals tested during this period were infected with the virus.
In these cases, the virus was contracted by humans from macaque bites and scratches while they were working with the animals in laboratories.