Escaped Monkeys From Crash Give Disease To Woman, Michelle Fallon


Driver Michelle Fallon, whom stopped to help when truck crashed in Pennsylvania with 100 monkeys, and put her hand in one of the cages says she now has a cough and pink eye after one of the macaques hissed in her face.

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Pennsylvania | A truck transporting one hundred monkeys had crash last week off of Interstate 80. Authorities had asked for people to contact them should they see monkeys. At the end, all one hundred monkeys were accounted for. Yoohoo! We guess NOT!

It has been reported that so far, one woman whom has been exposed and in contact with the monkeys is now on antivirals.

State police had urged people not to look for or capture the cynomolgus macaque monkey following the crash on a State Route 54 near an Interstate 80 exit in Danville, about 130 miles from Philadelphia. The monkeys were on their way to the lab.

‘Anyone who sees or locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to catch, or come in contact with the monkey. Please call 911 immediately,’ troopers had tweeted prior to locating the primates.

Trooper Lauren Lesher had said the concern was ‘due to it not being a domesticated animal and them being in an unknown territory. It is hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them.’

A woman who stopped to help after a truck carrying 100 lab monkeys crashed in Pennsylvania fears she’s caught an illness after one of the macaques hissed in her face, leaving her with pink eye symptoms.

Michelle Fallon, from Danville near Scranton, was driving directly behind the vehicle when it crashed, throwing animal crates all over the highway and smashing some to pieces. Three of the macaques escaped and went on the run, but all have since been captured and humanely euthanized. All of the other monkeys – who’d arrived in the US from Mauritius that morning, and were en route to a lab, have been accounted for.

Fallon has now had a rabies shot, and wrote about the symptoms she has since suffered on Facebook – and also told PA Homepage that she’d developed symptoms of pink eye – an inflammation or infection of the eye ball.

‘I was close to the monkeys, I touched the crates, I walked through their feces so I was very close. So I called (a helpline) to inquire, you know, was I safe?

‘Because the monkey did hiss at me and there were feces around, and I did have an open cut, they just want to be precautious.’

Michelle Fallon

Fallon said she got out to help both the driver and the animals in their cages, initially believing them to be cats. When she approached and put her hand on the cage, she says the monkey hissed at her.

The day following the accident, Fallon suddenly developed a cough and pink eye, which became so bad that she had to visit the emergency room at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

Infectious disease doctors gave her the first of four rabies injections together with some anti-viral drugs.

She said on Facebook that she was monitoring for symptoms of rabies and monkey herpes virus B.

‘What a day! I tried to help out at an accident and was told there were cats in the crates. So I went over to pet them only to find out it’s monkeys. Then I noticed that there was three in each, with some completely broken, so I knew four had got away,’ Fallon wrote of her experience on her Facebook page.

‘I came home to go to bed and my aunt ran into a news crew and she found out not to get too close to the monkey. Well, I tried to pet one. I touched the crates and walked in poop. I was told meet the police at the scene to talk about exposure’, she explained.

‘I spoke with the police and a woman from the CDC I am getting a letter and I’m very low risk for I don’t know what yet. But my symptoms are covid symptoms. Like seriously. A day from hell!’

Fallon has been told to keep a close eye on her health for the next month in case she develops any infectious disease as a result of being so close to them.

The test monkeys were on their way to a laboratory in Florida when the truck crashed into a garbage truck.

Fallon said that she spoke with the pickup driver and a passenger directly after the crash.

The driver appeared to be disoriented, and the passenger thought he might have injured his legs, she said.

The pickup was heading west on I-80 when it got off at the Danville exit and then immediately tried to get back on, driving across the other lane.

Fallon explained how she was behind the pickup when it was hit on the passenger side by the dump truck, tearing off the front panel of the trailer and sending more than a dozen crates tumbling out.

She and another motorist who stopped to help were standing near the scene when the other driver said he thought he saw a cat run across the road, Fallon said.

The shipment of monkeys was en route to a CDC-approved quarantine facility after arriving Friday morning at New York’s Kennedy Airport from Mauritius, the agency said.

Crates littered the road Friday as troopers searched for the monkeys, rifles in hand.

Meanwhile, Valley Township firefighters used thermal imaging to locate the animals, with a also assisting the recover effort.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the agency provided ‘technical assistance’ to state police.

The truck had been on its way to a lab at the time of the crash.

The location of the lab and the type of research for which the monkeys were destined weren’t clear, but the cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies.

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