At iconic Asian temple, monkeys harbor viruses | Science News


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At iconic Asian temple, monkeys harbor viruses

1:17pm, May 30, 2006

Across parts of Asia, Hindu and Buddhist temples often double as sanctuaries for free-ranging monkeys. Such sites can also shelter monkey viruses, a new report indicates.

Because local residents and tourists frequent these so-called monkey temples, there's potential for cross-species transmission of pathogens, say researchers led by Lisa Jones-Engel of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Their latest study, reported in the June Emerging Infectious Diseases, focused on rhesus macaques at Swoyambhu Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photos of that shrine grace postcards and the covers of guidebooks.

The team tranquilized 39 animals—about one-tenth of the temple's monkey population—and took blood samples from them. Lab result

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