If you see a monkey in Florida, don’t touch it. It seems like pretty basic advice, especially now that scientists have found that more than a quarter of these adorable, feral invaders carry the deadly herpes B virus.
Though at least 25 percent of the population carries the virus — which causes mild disease in macaques, but can be deadly to humans — fewer were actually infectious. The virus lies dormant in nerves in between flare-ups, similar to cold sores in humans. Between 4 and 14 percent of the monkeys released the virus in their spit during their fall breeding season, researchers report in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. And the wild monkeys’ poop turned out to be pristine — at least, as far as herpes B was concerned.
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