Woman claims she is sick after carrying hissing monkey that escaped truck in Pennsylvania crash

·2-min read

After a truck load of 100 lab monkeys crashed in Pennsylvania, a woman stopped her car to help. One of the monkeys did not appreciate her goodwill and hissed in her face. Now she's sick.

According to Pennsylvania Homepage, Michelle Fallon was driving in the truck's wake when it crashed, dumping animal crates across the highway. Some of those crates broke, allowing the monkeys to escape into the surrounding area, but those monkeys were eventually caught and humanely euthanised.

After the truck crashed, Ms Fallon pulled over to help the driver and the distressed animals, initially thinking the monkeys were cats.

When she approached the scene, she placed her hands on one of the cages. The monkey inside, likely shaken from the accident, hissed at the woman.

The day after the accident, Ms Fallon began to develop a cough as well as pink eye. Her eyes became so irritated that she decided to visit a local emergency room.

She was given the first of four rabies shots as well as some anti-viral drugs.

Ms Fallon said she called a healthcare hotline after the crash to explain what she had experienced and to determine if she would need to seek treatment.

"I was close to the monkeys, I touched the crates, I walked through their feces so I was very close," she told the outlet. "So I called [a hotline] to inquire, you know, was I safe?" she said. "The monkeys did hiss at me and there were feces around, and I did have an open cut, they just want to be precautious."

Michelle Fallon, a Pennsylvania woman who helped a truck driver whose cargo of monkeys bound for a CDC lab spilled onto a highway. She became ill after coming into contact with the animals. (Facebook)
Michelle Fallon, a Pennsylvania woman who helped a truck driver whose cargo of monkeys bound for a CDC lab spilled onto a highway. She became ill after coming into contact with the animals. (Facebook)

Ms Fallon has been advised to keep a close watch on her health over the next month to ensure she does not develop any infections from her proximity to the monkeys.

The monkey escape kept nearby residents on edge, as the shipment of animals was intended for a CDC quarantine facility after arriving from Mauritius.

Armed police and firefighters with thermal imaging technology searched for the escaped monkeys in the aftermath of the crash. The CDC also arrived on scene to help local police contain the situation.

Armed police and firefighters with thermal imaging technology searched for the escaped monkeys in the aftermath of the crash
Armed police and firefighters with thermal imaging technology searched for the escaped monkeys in the aftermath of the crash

Shortly after the crash, PETA - anticipating public interest in cute little primates running around their local woods - issued a statement warning area residents that "there is no way to ensure that the monkeys are virus-free," and warned that "monkeys in laboratories in the US have been found with tuberculosis, Chagas disease, cholera and MRSA."

The crab-eating macaque - the species of monkey that were aboard the truck - have DNA very similar to that of humans, and have been used for testing by researchers in the fight against Covid-19.

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