Crash Witness Fell Ill After Face-to-Face Monkey Meeting

Michele Fallon has received antiviral drugs, rabies treatment as a precaution
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2022 9:17 AM CST
Crash Witness Fell Ill After Face-to-Face Monkey Meeting
The driver of a pickup transporting monkeys pulls a crate of monkeys off of state Route 54 at the intersection with Interstate 80 near Danville, Pa., Friday, after the pickup and trailer were hit by a dump truck.   (Jimmy May/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise via AP)

(Newser) – A woman who witnessed Friday's crash in Pennsylvania involving a truck carrying 100 lab-bound monkeys ended up face-to-face with one of the monkeys, and is now receiving treatment as a precaution. "I thought I was just doing the right thing by helping—I had no idea it would turn out this way," Michele Fallon tells PAhomepage.com. She says she stopped to help the driver of the truck on Interstate 80 near Danville and ended up peering into a crate, where she found a rather upset cynomolgus macaque, who hissed at her. Lisa Jones-Engel, senior science adviser for primate experimentation at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who spoke to Fallon, tells USA Today that the woman in fact received "a face full of respiratory droplets."

She grew concerned after developing a mild fever, cough, runny rose and pink-eye symptoms and learning about infection risks, according to a post on her Facebook page, per Fox News. According to the CDC, macaques commonly spread herpes virus B through saliva, feces, and urine. "I was close to the monkeys, I touched the crates, I walked through their feces," Fallon tells PAhomepage.com, adding she had an open cut on her hand. "So I called to inquire, you know, was I safe?" She's now being treated with antiviral drugs and has received one dose of a rabies vaccine, per USA Today. "They just want to be precautious," she adds. Meanwhile, PETA is raising concerns that the monkeys, which it says were bound for a Missouri lab, were not property secured, handled, or treated. (Read more monkeys stories.)

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