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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Diseases from monkeys and other primates


Monkeys and other primates can spread many diseases to people and can cause severe injuries. While some states (including Washington) ban monkeys as pets, they may be illegally kept here or legally kept in other states. In addition, every year people are bitten or scratched when traveling to countries where monkeys live alongside people in cities or at tourist destinations. Risks from monkey bites include serious wound infections, herpes B virus, and rabies. If a person is bitten or scratched by a monkey, the wound should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water. A health care provider or public health authority should be contracted promptly to assess the exposure and determine if preventative treatments for rabies, herpes B virus or other infections are needed.

  • Herpes B virus (Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 or Herpesvirus simiae or B virus)