Primate Rescue Center

Mississippi Woman Infected After Alleged Monkey Bite

Erika Fleury October 20, 2015

A Lowndes County woman has reportedly been airlifted from Baptist Memorial Hospital- Golden Triangle to an undisclosed hospital in Jackson after showing symptoms of a simian-related virus. The unidentified woman had allegedly been to BMH several weeks ago and was taken there by ambulance over the weekend, according to emergency personnel.

The woman allegedly had bite marks on her head that were caused from her pet monkey biting her and clawing her head. Sources say the monkey was taken from the home and later euthanized. Its remains were allegedly sent to the Veterinary School at Mississippi State University.

Center for Disease Control representatives from Atlanta have allegedly been at the hospital, disinfecting the containment area, much like a scene out of the 1995 film “Outbreak.” CDC representatives did not respond to requests for comment from The Packet by press time.

The most common disease associated with house monkeys is hepatitis B. The CDC did a study in 1998 on the B-virus found in pet Macaque monkeys. According to the study, “B-virus disease in humans usually results from macaque bites or scratches. Incubation periods may be as short as two days, but more commonly are 2-5 weeks. Most documented infections have occurred among biomedical research employees who had occupational exposure to macaques, although transmission has also been documented among laboratory workers handling infected central nervous system and kidney tissues. The fatality rate can be as high as 80 percent.”

Hepatitis B is contagious from one person to another through blood, semen or bodily fluids.

The Lowndes County woman’s condition was believed to be critical at press time.

Another disease often associated with primates in the Ebola virus. According to the World Health Organization, Ebola causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials

A study by “National Geographic” conducted in 2003 claims there are more than 1,500 pet monkeys in the U.S. Pet monkeys can transmit a variety of diseases, including herpes B that can be transmitted by bites and scratches. Mississippi  law allows all monkeys except baboons and macaques to be kept as pets, and bans all kinds of apes. Under Miss. Code Ann. 49-8-5,  the following wild animals are classed as animals inherently dangerous to humans:

(a) Order Primates:

(i) Family Pongidae (gibbons, orangutans, chimpanzees, siamangs and gorillas) – all species;

(ii) Family Cercopithecidae:

Genus Macaca (macaques) – all species;

Genus Papio (mandrills, drills and baboons) – all species;

Theropithecus Gelada (Gelada baboon);

Possession of wild animals prohibited; permit required; exemptions.

(1)(a) It is unlawful for a person to import, transfer, sell, purchase or possess any wild animal classified inherently dangerous by law or regulation unless that person holds a permit under paragraph (b) or is exempted under paragraph (c).

(b)(i) Any person who possesses a wild animal on May 1, 1997, may receive a fee-exempt temporary permit for that animal if the person applies by July 1, 1997. The temporary permit shall be valid until such time as the department notifies the person of the adoption of the regulations for wild animals and of the date the person must apply for an annual permit. After notification, the person shall apply for an annual permit.

(ii) A person must obtain a permit before that person takes possession of a wild animal. The applicant must comply with all the requirements of this chapter and the regulations promulgated by the commission to obtain the permit. Prior to the issuance of a permit, the applicant must provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) for each wild animal up to a maximum of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00). An applicant shall have the burden of proving that any wild animals subject to this chapter are or will be imported, transferred, sold, purchased or possessed in compliance with this chapter and regulations.

(c) Public zoos, university research facilities, governmental agencies, transient circuses and rehabilitation and sanctuary facilities may be exempted from having a permit if the exemption is approved by the commission.

(d) Any permit issued under this chapter shall be valid for one (1) year and only for the species specified. A permit is required for each wild animal possessed. A permit for a female wild animal shall cover her progeny only while her progeny are physically dependant upon her or until her progeny are three (3) months old, whichever period is longer.

(2)(a) It is unlawful for any person to sell, transfer, deliver or give a wild animal classified as inherently dangerous to any other person unless the other person holds a permit for the wild animal or is exempt from holding a permit.

(b) Owners of unpermitted wild animals who do not qualify for a permit to possess the wild animal shall dispose of the wild animal according to law or regulation within thirty (30) days of notification by the department. Each day of possession of the unpermitted wild animal after the thirty-day period constitutes a separate violation.”

- The Packet

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