COVID-19 and Monkeys

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 8, 2020 (ZIZ News): While live virus testing at National Primate Centers in the United States have demonstrated that the green velvet monkey can contract the covid 19 virus, the transmission of coronavirus from humans to wild monkeys and vice versa has not yet been documented.

This information was given by Chief scientific officer at the St. Kitts Biomedical Research foundation Dr. Matthew S. Lawrence who addressed the NEOC Covid19 daily briefing.

“We do know that the green monkey can be infected when the virus is placed directly in their airway and they’re breathing it in at a sufficient dose that the virus is able to establish itself in the animal’s lungs and intestinal system. Whether that can happen in the setting of being exposed to a person who has COVID 19 is uncertain although we can infer that its likely especially if that individual is shedding a lot of virus.”

Dr. Lawrence said the actual likelihood of contracting the virus from monkeys is low.

“ I’m sure most of you are concerned about the monkey that may be in your back yard picking flowers and fruit and I think in that scenario, the risk is comparatively low. First, they are at a distance beyond the range at which airborne droplets are spread and secondly, may of the surfaces that they may be in contact with, will at some point over the day, also be in direct exposure to the bright St. Kitts sun which is very effective in eliminating viruses by the intense ultraviolet light. ”

He said it is advised, in order to keep the likelihood of transmission low, persons should distance themselves from monkeys at this time.

It was further noted that as a precautionary measure the practice of putting monkeys on the shoulders of tourists should be revisited in the future.

He said eating monkeys would also be another direct route of transmission.

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