Howler Monkeys Erroneously Blamed for Yellow Fever Outbreak in Brazil

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW AND BERNICE BORN

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isinformed people in Brazil are shooting and beating howler monkeys out of fear of yellow fever transmission, according to a CNN report. But it is mosquitoes alone that transmit the virus to both monkeys and humans.

 

Howler monkeys are particularly vulnerable to yellow fever. “The monkeys act as sentinels,” said primatologist Júlio César Bicca-Marques. “Their deaths are the first warning that yellow fever is circulating in a region. Without the monkeys in our forests, we’ll be blind to detect the arrival of the virus before we start detecting human cases and casualties.”

 

Roberto Alves, manager of the Vectorially Transmitted Illnesses Technical Vigilance Unit at Brazil’s Health Ministry, said he believes that “a lack of understanding of the disease transmission mechanism” is the motive when people do violence to primates. “Since the monkeys fall ill from the disease, and they fall ill near people, people end up thinking that the monkeys transmit the disease. But both in the transmission of the disease to monkeys and in the transmission to people, the mosquito is always present.”

 

The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources is urging people to report any abuses of monkeys and is working on information campaigns to end the violence.

 

Sources
CNN: Yellow Fever Fears Prompt Monkey Killings in Brazil, Experts Say
Rainforest Rescue

 

 

 

 

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