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HIV and AIDS

What Diseases Should I Be Aware Of From A Monkey Bite?

03/02/1999

Question:

I was bitten by a monkey at a local petting zoo when I was age 12. I am now 48. I have become aware of diseases that monkeys carry and wish to know if I should be concerned after this many years. At the time, I received a tetanus shot because they did not know what else to do for me. Thank you for any information you can give me.

Answer:

I haven't been able to find anything specifically on "monkey bites," except that most of the concern is during the immediate period following the bite for bacterial cellulitis infections, which is not your concern here. The tetanus booster was also a good idea. The are many different viruses that are specific for particular species of monkeys/primates, but most of these are blood borne and would not usually be transmitted by a bite. Most of these viruses would not cause any problem for humans, but if one would I don't think we would have anything to treat it -- certainly not before it caused any problems. In short, I doubt that you will have any long-term sequelae from your monkey bite 36 years ago, and there is nothing else that I know of that you need to do at this time.

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Response by:

Kenneth   Skahan, MD Kenneth Skahan, MD
Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati