Last Friday, a pickup towing a trailer filled with 100 monkeys collided with a dump truck in Valley Township, Pennsylvania, with several monkeys escaping. A woman who stopped to help is now being treated for pink-eye symptoms after a monkey hissed in her face.
Michele Fallon of Danville told the Press Enterprise that she and another motorist saw the crash and stopped to help. The other driver told the outlet he thought he saw what looked like a cat run across the road. Fallon looked into a crate and saw a monkey inside, which made a noise. She apparently put her finger in the crate and a monkey appeared, which apparently hissed close to Fallon’s face, spraying her with spit.
The truck that crashed was carrying 100 cynomolgus macaque monkeys from Africa that were heading to a lab in Missouri to be test subjects. Three monkeys escaped during the crash, but have been found.
Fallon told WBRE/WYOU that she was concerned for her health and never imagined her attempt to be a good Samaritan would cause something like this. The outlet noted that she has now received the first dose of the rabies vaccine as well as anti-viral medication
“I thought I was just doing the right thing by helping — I had no idea it would turn out this way,” Fallon told the outlet.
She said the driver never warned her to stay away from the contents of the trailer.
“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,” she told the outlet.
When the monkeys escaped, Pennsylvania officials warned people to stay away from them because they could be carrying diseases, but since Fallon and the other driver arrived at the crash right away, they didn’t receive the warning.
“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?” Fallon told WBRE/WYOU.
Fallon told the outlet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told her that she should take certain precautions because the monkeys had not been quarantined and monitored. The CDC warns that this species of monkey can spread herpes virus B through its saliva, feces, and urine.
Fallon told WBRE/WYOU that she became concerned because she had a cut on her hand and developed pink-eye-like symptoms. She went to the emergency room and was given preventative medicine.
“Because the monkey did hiss at me and because there was monkey feces around, and I did have an open cut, they just want to be precautious,” she said.
USA Today reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating the accident after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a complaint.
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