Truck Transporting 100 Monkeys to CDC Research Lab Crashes on Pennsylvania Highway
A bystander who came across the scene got too close to a crate containing a monkey, which then hissed at her. She had an open cut at the time and believes she may have contracted a case of conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye.
A truck transporting dozens of monkeys to a CDC research lab crashed on a highway in rural Pennsylvania, leading to the escape of three potentially-infected primates and a possible case of conjunctivitis for a bystander who stopped to help.
The 100 macaque monkeys came from the African island nation of Mauritius. They were flown to JFK Airport in New York and were on the way to a CDC quarantine facility when the truck collided with another vehicle, sending all their crates spilling out.
Police in rural Pennsylvania asked residents to look out for monkeys on the loose. All three monkeys that escaped were eventually accounted for.
Michele Fallon came across the scene and did what she could to help out, which she now regrets.
“I get my face and I put it right up to the crate, 'cause it had like chicken coop wire going around it, and at that point, this monkey pops up and just hisses at me,” Fallon said.
Fallon says she had an open cut at the time the monkey hissed in her face and believes she may have contracted a case of conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye. She went to her doctor afterwards and is now being treated with a rabies vaccine and antivirals as a precaution.
Some are comparing what happened to the 1995 Dustin Hoffman movie “Outbreak,” in which a monkey smuggled into the U.S. threatens to lead to a pandemic.
“Monkeys can transmit infections to people, but fortunately in a circumstance like this, it's very, very rare,” Dr. William Schaffner told Inside Edition.
Fallon says she did voice concerns about the monkeys to authorities.
“I asked them, like, what do these monkeys have, what could I get? And they are pretty much tight-lipped, they keep me in the dark,” Fallon said.
According to the CDC, the three monkeys that escaped were humanely euthanized.
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