Macaques in Florida's Silver Springs State Park carry a strain of herpes that can be deadly to humans. - From Live Science
Now, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that about 25 percent of the monkeys carry macacine herpesvirus 1 (McHV-1), which causes only mild symptoms, if any, in monkeys but can be deadly in people.
[10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species] The scientists also discovered that as many as 14 percent of the monkeys shed DNA from the virus in their saliva, presenting a risk of virus transmission to humans, the researchers reported in a new study, which was published online in the February 2018 issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Previous studies of the Silver Springs Park rhesus populations had identified herpes B in the animals, according to a study published in May 2016 by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
In the new study, scientists analyzed samples of blood, feces and saliva collected from the macaques, as well as soil samples from the monkeys' habitat.
Blood samples from 317 macaques revealed that 84 monkeys carried the virus and that the odds of a monkey being infected increased with age.