An eyewitness to the event, who tried to pet a monkey, was told by the CDC to monitor herself for any cold-like symptoms.
After two years of pandemic response, likely caused by a release of a genetically modified bat virus from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, there was a great deal of nervousness about the escape of monkeys used in biological research following a truck crash in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania State Police said that a pickup truck with an enclosed trailer full of 100 monkeys had collided with a dump truck and that four of the monkeys had escaped.
The cynomolgus monkeys, which are often used in scientific research and can cost up to $10,000 each, had been on their way to a lab in Florida when the crash happened at about 3:20 p.m. on Route 54 near Interstate 80 in Montour County, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the State Police said.
No people were hurt, but troopers and state wildlife officials responded as the search for the monkeys intensified into the evening hours. A State Police helicopter was also put on standby but had not been deployed for aerial reconnaissance, Trooper Lauren Lesher, a State Police spokeswoman, said.
I hope this isn’t gonna turn out to be the plot in that bad movie where the scientists know the lone animal missing has a lab created virus that can wipe out the world’s population.
— daniel smith (@Bckrda) January 23, 2022
However, all monkeys have now been accounted for after a weekend full of monkey business.
Several monkeys had escaped following Friday’s collision, Pennsylvania State Police said. But only one had remained unaccounted for as of Saturday morning, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies to launch a search for it amid frigid weather.
Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an email Saturday evening that all 100 of the cynomolgus macaque monkeys had since been accounted for.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson, the monkeys were en route to a CDC-approved quarantine facility. They had arrived Friday morning in New York and are originally from Mauritius, a country in East Africa.
Sadly, three of the animals were euthanized. An eyewitness to the event, who checked on the response and tried to pet a monkey, was told by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor herself for any cold-like symptoms.
“Little monkeys, we got bears, we have coyotes, we have deer, you know all the time. A little 3-pound monkey doesn’t scare me, but why are they so concerned about it is what concerns me,” said Howie Lerch, Valley Township.
Friday night Newswatch 16 spoke with Michelle Fallon of Danville, who saw the entire accident. She jumped into action; helping both drivers and the loads they were carrying.
“I walk up back on the hill and this guy tells me, ‘Oh, he’s hauling cats. I said, ‘oh.’ So I go over to look in the crate and there’s this green cloth over it. So I peel it back, I stick my finger in there and go ‘kitty, kitty.’ It pops its head up and it’s a monkey,” Fallon said.
Fallon was contacted Saturday by the CDC and was told to monitor herself for any cold-like symptoms.
She shared the letter from the CDC with Newswatch 16; it reads in part that, “the surviving monkeys will be quarantined and will be monitored for infectious diseases for at least 31 days before their release.”
I hope there is nothing more to the CDC’s guidance to the eyewitness other than prudent practice after contact with a non-native animal.DONATE
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