September 25, 2022

The intruder was trying to steal coins from the enclosure’s moat

Authorities in Australia are urging a person who broke into a monkey enclosure to urgently seek medical attention because they may have been exposed to “potentially fatal” herpes.

On Tuesday night, an intruder broke into an enclosure that houses macaque monkeys in an attempt to steal coins from a moat surrounding the enclosure.

Along with damaging the electric fence, Launceston council said they were concerned the intruder had been exposed to the herpes B virus.

In a statement, the city council urged the intruder to seek medical help “as a matter of urgency.”

They said: “On Tuesday night an unidentified intruder broke into the City Park monkey enclosure, causing damage to the electric fencing and stealing coins out of the surrounding moat.

“Unfortunately this action has potentially exposed the intruder to the Herpes B virus, which is carried by the City Park monkeys.

“The virus can be asymptomatically shed by the monkeys through bodily fluids and ‘fomites’ — that is, any material that has come into contact with the virus, which includes the water in the enclosure.

“The virus is potentially fatal to humans, with more than 30 known deaths recorded worldwide, with only one confirmed case of human-to-human transmission.

“The Council urges the intruder to seek medical attention as a matter of urgency.”

City mayor, Albert van Zetten, said it was “obvious” the intruder had intended to steal coins in the moat, and that if the disease was in the water then it could have been transferred to them.

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“We’re really encouraging that person to seek medical attention as a matter of urgency, and they need to watch out for symptoms, which include blistering, pain, numbness and flu-like symptoms as well,” Van Zetten said.

“It’s strange, there’s no doubt about that. Perhaps someone saw some money and thought, ‘oh well, here’s a chance, I might be able to get some.’”

There have been more than 30 known deaths from the virus recorded worldwide.

Both Tasmania police and the Tasmanian Department of Health have been alerted to the break-in.

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