Wed, Oct 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Yushan macaques quarantined: CDC

PRECAUTIONS:Although the three captured monkeys did not appear to be infected with rabies, researchers plan to keep the animals under observation for at least 10 days

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

A Formosan rock macaque walks along a path at Yushan National Park’s Tataka Recreation Ground in Hsinyi Township, Nantou County, in an undated photograph provided by the park.

Photo: courtesy of the Yushan National Park Administrative Office

Three aggressive macaques that attacked 10 visitors to Yushan National Park over the weekend were captured and sent to the Department of Agriculture on Monday to be placed under observation for possible rabies infection, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

The three macaques — a female and two males — reportedly attacked a total of 10 visitors in the park’s Tataka Recreation Ground on Saturday and Sunday.

The centers reported that eight of the 10 visitors who were bitten by the macaques have since received rabies vaccine, while two had declined to be vaccinated.

All of the injured visitors will continue to be monitored, the centers added.

Chen Chen-chih (陳貞志), a researcher at National Pingtung University’s Institute of Wildlife Conservation, who assisted in the capture of the animals, said the macaques so far have not displayed any symptoms that would indicate that they have rabies.

“However, since they are wild animals and have attacked people, they have to be put under quarantined observation for at least 10 days,” he said.

While the three need to be further tested and observed to determine whether they have been infected with rabies, it was found that the captured female exhibited symptoms of herpes B virus infection such as blisters in its mouth.

The 10 injured people have been advised by the centers to receive anti-herpes drugs if deemed necessary by a clinical physician.

The centers said that herpes B virus infects a broad range of mammals including monkeys and humans, and can damage the central nervous system.

Human infections with the virus are mostly caused by scratches or bites from infected monkeys, the centers said, adding that symptoms include acute fever, headache, skin lesions and neurological symptoms.

Reported cases of herpes B virus infection in humans are extremely rare.

There have been 40 reported cases of herpes B infection in humans globally, the centers said, adding that infection of the virus in humans can be fatal, as the mortality rate is above 70 percent if the infected person fails to receive proper treatment.

The centers said that the best infection prevention strategy is to avoid being close to, playing with or feeding monkeys.

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