Monkey see, monkey bite
Monkeys are funny and cute – especially the little ones. Their antics are the stuff of millions of holiday photos (if they haven’t already nicked your camera, that is!).
Pictured: A mother and baby macaque
In places with a large monkey population such as Krabi in Thailand and Malaysia’s Batu Caves, many a tourist has returned from a swim to find monkeys have rummaged through bags left unattended on the beach, their contents scattered far and wide.
But, as harmless as their antics might seem, travellers should give them a wide berth at temples in Southeast Asia, or in animal shelters or game reserves in Africa.
Even the semi-domesticated ones will deliver a nasty bite if you or your child fails to read the signals.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of travellers bitten by monkeys in Bali in the last 7 years, according to a report from GeoSentinel, a global network of travel medicine clinics that are part of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). http://istm.org/Documents/GeoS_MonkeyBiteRabiesPEPRise.pdf
The report says monkey bites have always been common among tourists visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud, and other temples on the island.
However, since rabies hit Bali for the first time in 2008, monkey bites now far surpass dog bites as the reason for international travellers returning home to seek post-exposure treatment for rabies. (The rise in monkey bites in Bali may be due to the extensive culling and vaccination campaign underway among the island’s dogs to bring the rabies epidemic under control).
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