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monkey mad

SEX-MAD monkeys carrying a deadly strain of herpes have been deemed a threat to the public as they can be passed to humans with just a scratch.

And to make matters worse, the rhesus macaques, which live in Florida, are set to double in numbers.

The wild primates carry a strain of herpes that's contagious to humans and can be spread simply by a scratch or a bite, or through bodily fluids such as poo.

A study published by the University of Florida estimated that 25 per cent of the monkeys in Florida currently carry the disease and they appear in areas frequented by tourists.

Steve Johnson, researcher of the study, told WFTV that there could be "around 400 animals" by 2020, double the current population.

Also known as macacine herpes virus 1, or herpes B, it can affect the nerves and the immune system, appearing around the mouth or genitals as blisters or sores.

Antiviral medication could also be given, although there is no vaccine or cure.

While only 50 cases have been confirmed since 1932, 21 of the cases were fatal and is deadly if left untreated 70 per cent of the time according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2008, a lab worker was infected by one of the monkeys, and has suffered from health problems over the past decade, including numbness and a loss of balance.

To deal with the increasing number of monkeys, researchers have suggested removing the animals from the environment or sterilising the female primates.

Both pose a serious threat to the human handlers tasked with the project.

The monkeys were first brought to Florida in the 1930s as part of an attraction in Silver Springs State Park.