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Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

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Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

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A lab monkey escape on a Pennsylvania Highway raised fears of a virus outbreak after a woman who came into contact with them later fell ill.

Michelle Fallon pulled over to help after a truck carrying 100 cynomolgus macaques crashed into Interstate 80, spilling crates of animals onto the tarmac.

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Truck carrying 100 monkeys to lab crashed in PennsylvaniaCredit: AP
Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

 |  Latest News Headlines

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One of the escaped monkeys was spotted in a tree off Route 54 on Friday eveningCredit: Pennsylvania State Police
Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

 |  Latest News Headlines

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Michelle Fallon said she developed virus symptoms after helping at the crash scene

State troopers said four of the primates were on the loose and warned the public not to try to catch them Friday night.

They have all been counted since.

It has now emerged that a passerby who was at the scene is being treated for symptoms of an unknown illness.

Michelle, from nearby Danville, was driving behind the truck when it crashed on the way to a research facility.

She got out to help the driver with the broken crates, initially thinking they were transporting cats.

When she put her hand on a cage, one of the three monkeys inside hissed at her but she was not bitten or scratched.

She said she also walked in animal droppings amid the chaos as four monkeys fled into the woods.

The next day, she developed Covid-like symptoms, including a cough and pink eye.

Doctors gave him the first of four anti-rabies injections with an antiviral drug.

She said on Facebook that she had been contacted by the CDC and was being monitored for symptoms of rabies and herpes monkey B virus.

First responders who witnessed the accident were also asked to self-check for symptoms.

The B virus is extremely rare in humans but causes severe brain damage and death if not treated quickly.

Victims catch it through monkey bites and scratches and there is only one documented case of a human patient transmitting it to another person, according to the CDC.

Laboratory monkeys have also been found to be infected with tuberculosis, Chagas disease, cholera and MRSA.

Anyone who comes within five feet should register with health officials and report any symptoms.

“What a day!” Michelle posted online.

“I tried to help out in an accident and was told there were cats in the boxes. So I went to pet them only to find out they were monkeys.

“Then I noticed there were three in each, some of them completely broken, so I knew four had escaped.

“I came home to go to bed and my aunt came across 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 the poo. I was told to meet the police at the scene to talk about the exhibit.

‘Hell day’

“I’ve spoken with the police and a woman from the CDC. I get a letter and I’m at very low risk because I don’t know what yet.

“But my symptoms are covid symptoms. Like seriously. One day from hell!”

The monkeys were being taken to a laboratory in Florida after landing at JFK airport in New York on a flight from Mauritius.

The nature of the research project has not been disclosed, but cynomolgus macaques are commonly used in preclinical drug trials.

CDC infectious disease experts helped Pennsylvania police and health officials close the road after Friday’s 4 p.m. escape in Montour County.

The soldiers issued an alert to the public, sharing a photo of a monkey that was spotted in a tree off Route 54.

They tweeted: “Anyone who sees or locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to grab or make contact with the monkey. Please call 911 immediately.

Private Lauren Lesher said the concern was “due to the fact that it was not a pet and was in unfamiliar territory. It’s hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them.

A helicopter and firefighters equipped with a thermal imaging camera were called in to help with the search by cops and the PA State Game Commission.

Media outlet WNEP said the woods where a monkey was spotted were searched with flashlights around 7 p.m.

He said: “We then heard three gunshots. It is not known what type of weapon was used and we do not know where the monkey is or what condition he is in.”

At least one monkey was reportedly found on Friday evening.

On Saturday, the CDC said all 100 macaques had been found.

Three had died after being “euthanized”, but the statement did not specify why.

All surviving animals will be quarantined and checked for signs of illness.

Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

 |  Latest News Headlines

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The truck crashed on Interstate 80 shortly after 4 p.m. FridayCredit: WNEP
Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

 |  Latest News Headlines

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Crates of monkeys were overturned on the highwayCredit: WNEP
Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

 |  Latest News Headlines

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The monkeys were transported to a laboratory in FloridaCredit: AP
Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

 |  Latest News Headlines

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State troopers and firefighters searched for the escaped animalsCredit: AP
Monkeys on the loose in Danville, Pennsylvania after a truck carrying 100 primates crashed en route to the lab

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Woman who stopped to help after lab monkeys escaped from lorry crash FALLS SICK, sparking outbreak fears

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