A Pennsylvania woman was exposed to lab monkeys after attempting to assist victims of a highway crash on Friday. She is now experiencing symptoms that have prompted a warning letter from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to WBRE-TV, Michele Fallon witnessed a crash between a truck pulling a trailer and a dump truck at the intersection of Route 54 and Interstate 80 outside Danville, Pennsylvania. Her first instinct was to help.
“I thought I was just doing the right thing by helping — I had no idea it would turn out this way,” Fallon told WBRE-TV.
What Fallon did not know was that the trailer had been carrying 100 cynomolgus macaque monkeys from Africa. The driver was on his way to a lab in Missouri, where the monkeys were supposed to be tested.
A truck carrying about 100 monkeys crashed in central Pennsylvania, state police said, as authorities searched for at least three of the monkeys that apparently escaped. The truck had been on its way to a lab, state police said. https://t.co/pOcFqIUrjb
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 22, 2022
Fallon said when she assisted the crash victims, the truck driver never indicated she could be in danger if she encountered the monkeys.
She explained the driver was “very, very upset. He was in a panic,” Harrisburg100 reported.
“He just asked if his trailer was okay,” Fallon recounted, according to WBRE-TV. “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.”
Three of the monkey escaped in the crash, and one of them hissed directly in the face of Fallon.
In addition, Fallon said she touched the crates the monkeys were in and “walked through their feces.” For those reasons, she called the CDC to ask what precautions she should take.
The CDC told her the monkeys had not been monitored, so her close contact with them could present a threat. The organization told her this particular species had the potential to spread herpes virus B through feces, which Fallon already admitted she came in contact with, WBRE-TV reported.
Fallon said she had an open wound on her hand and began to develop symptoms of pink-eye, so she visited an emergency room.
According to The Hill, Fallon received one dose of the rabies vaccine, as well as an antiviral medication she was told to take for two weeks.
“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,” Fallon said, according to WBRE-TV.
Precautionary as it may be, the CDC is not taking any chances. According to a letter obtained by the Gateway Pundit, the CDC warned first responders at the crash site to monitor themselves closely for any potential symptoms.
“If you were within five feet of the NHP crates without respiratory and eye protection, monitor yourself for signs of illness including fever, fatigue, cough, diarrhea and vomiting,” the CDC wrote.
“If you become ill during the 31-day quarantine period (until February 21, 2022), you should immediately report to your physician that you had exposure to monkeys and notify the Pennsylvania State Department of Health at (717) 787-3350.”
The world is on high alert regarding animal diseases after the COVID-19 pandemic has been linked to coronavirus research in bats.
In October 2021, National Institutes of Health Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak admitted the NIH funded gain-of-function experiments on bat cornaviruses in China between June 2018 and May 2019.
While the NIH stills denies its funding could have led to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have grown skeptical of the agency. Evidence suggests this latest monkey incident is nowhere near the same scale, but it is easy to understand why people are being extra cautious.
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