Free ranging rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and herpesvirus B : public health risks in Puerto Rico

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Two species of introduced non-human primates currently thrive on the island of Puerto Rico: rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas). While most of the monkeys live in groups in the southwest region of Puerto Rico, recent events have indicated the primates may be dispersing or are being introduced to other areas on the island, including urban areas. Both species are thought to have originated from the La Parguera Primate Facility (LPPF), which was administered by the Caribbean Primate Research Center (CPRC) of the University of Puerto Rico's Medical Science Campus from 1961 until 1982. While both species are a concern as agricultural nuisances and as exotic species competing with indigenous fauna, the rhesus monkey presents a serious public health concern due to the potential for carrying and transmitting herpesvirus B. As macaque populations continue to grow and encounters with humans become more common, risk of transmission of herpesvirus B to humans has become a serious consideration and ongoing challenge for public health officials in Puerto Rico. While this disease has been the focus of attention in primate research and laboratory environments across the United States over the past seventy years, public knowledge of risks involved with interacting with rhesus monkeys is deficient. Puerto Rico faces a formidable challenge, as the majority of their population, including much of the healthcare community, is unaware of zoonotic risks presented by this introduced species. A recent exposure of 25 persons to a seropositive rhesus macaque in Bayamon, Puerto Rico underscores the importance of public education regarding these health risks associated with interactions between humans and non-human primates.
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Senior seminar paper
Seminar SF610.1 2003 J46
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Senior seminar (D.V.M.) -- Cornell University, 2003. Includes bibliographical references (leaves (10-11)).
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Monkeys -- Diseases -- Epidemiology
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term paper
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