Hong Kong fears wild monkeys carry deadly virus
HONG KONG â€” Hong Kong on Monday warned people not to approach or feed wild monkeys after Taiwan reported that some of the animals tested positive for a virus deadly to humans.
The strain, called monkey B virus, is common and harmless to monkeys, but with humans it can cause acute encephalitis, which is often fatal. The virus – usually contracted by lab workers – is transmitted by monkey bites, scratches or contact with fluids and tissue.
Health officials in Taiwan’s second-biggest city, Kaohsiung, have recently reported that wild monkeys have tested positive for the virus.
Although Hong Kong is known for its densely populated urban neighbourhoods, the city also has large tracts of park space and undeveloped mountainous areas, where the monkeys live.
Donald Lam, a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, said officials are monitoring the cases in Taiwan but have not begun testing monkeys in Hong Kong.
Lam said, “We urge the public not to feed monkeys or go near them.”
He added that the conservation department usually tells people to stay away from the animals even when there’s no threat of infection because feeding or having other