Saturday, February 5, 2022

'REAL-LIFE MOVIE?': Driver Stops to Assist Truck Carrying 100 Lab Monkeys After Crash and Touched Cages, Now Has Cough/Pink Eye Symptoms

Source: Daily Mail

Published: January 25, 2022

By: James Gordon

  • Woman who stopped to help monkeys in truck crash is now feeling unwell
  • Michelle Fallon, from Danville near Scranton, was directly behind the truck
  • Fallon said the day following the accident she developed a cough and pink-eye
  • She has begun a course of antiviral drugs and treatment to prevent rabies 
  • The last of the four escaped monkeys was accounted for by late Saturday 
  • One of the cynomolgus macaques, which are also known as crab-eating or long-tailed macaques, was found in a tree
  • Pennsylvania residents had been warned not to engage a crab-eating macaque that escaped from a truck carrying 100 of them to a lab
  • Crates with live monkeys inside were strewn across State Route 54 in Danville, 130 miles from Philadelphia, after the crash 
  • A witness said he thought he saw a cat run across the road before making the shocking realization that it was actually a fleeing primate

A woman who stopped to help after a truck carrying 100 lab monkeys crashed in Pennsylvania fears she's caught an illness after one of the macaques hissed in her face, leaving her with pink eye symptoms.

Michelle Fallon, from Danville near Scranton, was driving directly behind the vehicle when it crashed, throwing animal crates all over the highway and smashing some to pieces.  Three of the macaques escaped and went on the run, but all have since been captured and humanely euthanized. All of the other monkeys - who'd arrived in the US from Mauritius that morning, and were en route to a lab, have been accounted for.


Fallon has now had a rabies shot, and wrote about the symptoms she has since suffered on Facebook - and also told PA Homepage that she'd developed symptoms of pink eye - an inflammation or infection of the eye ball. 

She said: 'I was close to the monkeys, I touched the crates, I walked through their feces so I was very close. So I called (a helpline) to inquire, you know, was I safe?

'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 she got out to help both the driver and the animals in their cages, initially believing them to be cats. When she approached and put her hand on the cage, she says the monkey hissed at her.

The day following the accident, Fallon suddenly developed a cough and pink eye, which became so bad that she had to visit the emergency room at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

Michele Fallon, who was exposed to the monkeys on Friday after the crash said she is experiencing some side effects in her eye and has begun a course of preventative rabies treatment


Fallon wrote of her experience on her Facebook page

Pictured: the last of the four monkeys to be captured after the trailer they were in crashed into a dump truck on a Pennsylvania highway on Friday

Crates holding live monkeys are collected next to the trailer they were being transported in along state Route 54 at the intersection with Interstate 80 near Danville, Pennsylvania on Friday  after a pickup pulling the trailer carrying the monkeys was hit by a dump truck

Infectious disease doctors gave her the first of four rabies injections together with some anti-viral drugs.

She said on Facebook that she was monitoring for symptoms of rabies and monkey herpes virus B. 

'What a day! I tried to help out at an accident and was told there were cats in the crates. So I went over to pet them only to find out it's monkeys. Then I noticed that there was three in each, with some completely broken, so I knew four had got away,' Fallon wrote of her experience on her Facebook page. 

'I came home to go to bed and my aunt ran into a news crew and she found out not to get too close to the monkey. Well, I tried to pet one. I touched the crates and walked in poop. I was told meet the police at the scene to talk about exposure', she explained.

'I spoke with the police and a woman from the CDC I am getting a letter and I'm very low risk for I don't know what yet. But my symptoms are covid symptoms. Like seriously. A day from hell!' 

Fallon has been told to keep a close eye on her health for the next month in case she develops any infectious disease as a result of being so close to them.   

The test monkeys were on their way to a laboratory in Florida when the truck crashed into a garbage truck.

Fallon said that she spoke with the pickup driver and a passenger directly after the crash.

The driver appeared to be disoriented, and the passenger thought he might have injured his legs, she said.

The pickup was heading west on I-80 when it got off at the Danville exit and then immediately tried to get back on, driving across the other lane.

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