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Hundreds Of Monkeys Fell Dead From Brazilian Rainforest Trees

First Posted: Feb 11, 2017 03:13 AM EST

The yellow fever outbreak in Brazil's Atlantic rainforest region claimed lives of more than 600 monkeys and dozens of humans. It is considered the country's worst outbreak in decades.

The monkeys, typically the brown howlers and masked titis, just fell dead from the trees in the forests of Espirito Santo state in Brazil's southeast region. This threatens the population of the rare South American primates.

Sergio Lucena, a professor at the Federal University of Espirito Santo, said that the number of dead monkeys increases every day. He further said that even the rare buffy-headed marmoset is also threatened by the yellow fever virus and dying.

The forests were silenced from the usual barks or grunts of the monkeys. This led to the investigation and officials discovered the dying monkeys on the ground of the forests.

Yellow fever is caused by a virus that is spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito. These mosquitoes are the Aedes aegyoti type, and the virus is known as RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus. The symptoms of this condition include fever, loss of appetite, chills, muscle pains, particularly at the back, nausea and headaches. The disease could also damage the liver that causes yellow skin. This may lead to bleeding and kidney problems.

The yellow fever is most common in tropical areas such as Africa and South America. There are about 200,000 infections and 30,000 deaths yearly and 90 percent of these occur in Africa.

According to The Washington Post, Brazil has been suffering from the yellow fever outbreak in decades. It killed almost 69 humans in the central state of Mina Gerais, where the virus began. Most people in Brazil have been vaccinated to prevent acquiring the said disease.

On the other hand, no vaccine or protection is available for the monkeys. This may jeopardize the population of the monkeys especially the masked titis, which are placed on the Red List of Threatened Species by the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

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