According to a story in the New York Post today, an eccentric tour guide brought rare Rhesus monkeys to the Sunshine State in the 1930s. He let them free. The animals congregated near the Silver River, an area east of Ocala, but some soon learned to swim and made it as far north as Jacksonville. Their population ballooned to over 1,000. And now, irresponsibly, most of the monkeys have infected themselves with the herpes-B virus.
Needless to say, state health administrators now say that herpes-infected monkeys pose a health risk to all of Florida. And you may be thinking, “Hey, no big deal. I have sex with humans. Not monkeys.” But they bite! And biting can pass the virus along. Said a British wildlife photographer to the Post, ““Just like any other wild animal you need to give them space. The Post added, helpfully, that they normally eat “dirt and spiders.”
By the way, in case you were wondering: This marks the first herpes scare in Florida history that didn't start in Miami.