A woman who helped a truck carrying lab monkeys was left with pink eye, cough, and face 31 days of quarantine.
Michele Fallon, from Pennsylvania, jumped out of her car to help when she saw a pickup, which was carrying 100 cynomolgus macaque monkeys, collide with a dump truck on a state highway just outside Danville last Friday.
When she approached and put her hands on the cage, which Fallon thought was containing a cat, she discovered an agitated monkey, hissing on her.
She recalled another motorist saying he thought he saw a cat run across the road just as she peeked into one of the crates and saw the monkey staring back at her.
Michele said: “I thought I was doing the right thing by helping — I had no idea it would turn out this way. He just asked if his trailer was okay. He never said, “if you do come near a crate do not touch it,” if he would have told me that, I would have been more careful.”
Fallon later became alarmed when officials warned the public not to go near or approach four monkeys that escaped because they could transmit diseases. 4 of the monkeys on the trailer got loose. Public health officials warned them to stay away from the area as the police searched for the escape macaques.
Fallon said: “I was close to the monkeys, I touched the crates, I walked through their feces so I was very close. So, I called to inquire, you know, was I safe?”
After Fallon contacted the Center for Disease Control and Prevention office, she was told that because the monkeys were not quarantined and monitored, she should need to take precautions.
Following the said encounter, Fallon developed a cough, runny nose, and pink eye, which became so bad she ended up going to the emergency room.
She also had an open cut on her hand and was concerned it could have gotten infected, she was also instructed to quarantine for 31 days. She received a rabies shot at a medical Center, as well as anti-viral drugs.
The said truck was carrying 100 cynomolgus macaque monkeys from Africa, and heading to a lab in Missouri for testing. All of the escaped monkeys were accounted for on Saturday after the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies launched a search for it amid frigid weather.
Three of the said escaped lab monkeys were dead after being euthanized by the catchers. According to the CDC, this species is a kind of monkey that commonly spreads herpes virus B through saliva, feces, or urine.
Fallon will undergo preventative medicine for about two weeks.
The first indications of herpes virus B infection are typically flu-like symptoms, the person may then develop small blisters in the area that had contact with the monkey.
As the virus progresses, it can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, leading to neurological symptoms, brain damage, and even death.
The USDA is now investigating the incident after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA filed a complaint. They called for the closure of the federally funded national primate research centers. The animal rights organization put out a statement urging the US to stop importing monkeys for experiments.