Question left after highway incident involving monkeys

In the 11 days since a truck carrying 100 monkeys from Mauritius crashed in Pennsylvania, a woman who approached crates of monkeys scattered across the highway has been treated for possible illness symptoms.

And Kenya Airways, which is believed to have transported the monkeys to the US, has decided not to renew an expired contract to transport research primates there.

There have been no other reports of possible illness related to the crash, according to state and federal health officials, who said they do not know if the Pennsylvania woman’s symptoms were related to the macaque. cynomolgus, which is being isolated and monitored for the epidemic or not.

Experts say direct contact with monkey saliva or feces can be dangerous, but the risk of a widespread outbreak is low.

The woman, Michele Fallon, 45, of Danville, Pa., said Tuesday that she was given two doses of rabies vaccine, antiviral medication and antibiotic eye drops after she contracted it. runny nose, cough and watery and scabs in her Eyes. She also vomited over the weekend, she said, possibly from taking antiviral medication.

She said her eyes have improved a lot and she “feels better”, although she still feels “nausea.”

She said she is awaiting the results of a blood test for monkey diseases and is grateful for the advice she has received from Dr Lisa Jones-Engel, a primate scientist who works with Humans because Ethical Treatment of Animals, long ago. opposes primate research and has asked two federal agencies to investigate the accident.

Fallon said she was driving home January 21 in Montour County, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia, when she saw the crash, in which a truck collides with a pickup truck it’s pulling a rickshaw with the baboons. The monkeys have arrived at Kennedy International Airport in New York and are on their way to the quarantine facility.

Miss Fallon stopped to see if anyone was hurt and saw crates scattered across the street.

Told by an outsider that there might be cats in the house, she stuck a finger in and saw brown fur. When the animal made a “strange noise,” she brought her face closer to get a better look. That’s when, she said, she noticed that it wasn’t a cat but a monkey that “hissed” at her. She said she felt a fog.

She also stepped on monkey poop, she said.

That night, she went to a party with people who later tested positive for coronavirus, she said. Ms Fallon said that although she herself tested negative, the chain of events added up to “the worst day of my life”.

Three of the monkeys escaped after the collision, but were quickly found and “humanely mortified”, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, without providing further details. .

The CDC referred questions about Fallon’s condition to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and her doctor, saying the agency “does not provide clinical care to individuals.”

“It is not known whether the individual’s medical condition is involved,” said Barry Ciccocioppo, a spokesman for the Department of Health, in an email.

“We take any reports of contact with these non-human primates very seriously,” said Mr. “The Department of Health recommends that anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to a non-human primate contact their healthcare provider.” The doctor can then consult with the department about the risks and best treatment, he said.

Ms. Fallon’s doctor’s office referred inquiries to the Geisinger health system, which did not immediately respond to an email and phone call.

In a letter to authorities following the collision, the CDC said that anyone who was within 5 feet of the monkey enclosure without eye and respiratory protection should self-monitor for signs of illness such as fever, fatigue, cough, diarrhea and vomiting.

The letter notes that monkeys and humans are inherently susceptible to many of the same diseases. It said surviving monkeys would be isolated and monitored for infectious diseases for at least 31 days.

Mr. Ciccocioppo described the letter as “a precaution and a form to be used in such cases.”

Michael L. Kull, Director of the Valley Town Fire Department, said that he and other emergency responders responding to the collision didn’t get close enough to the monkeys to pose any risk of infection of any kind. .

“Out of an abundance of caution, we’ll be careful,” he said, but added that he didn’t care. “I lost sleep.”

Dr. Christine PetersenThe director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa, said serious diseases like monkey pox and Ebola are rare in cynomolgus monkeys, but anyone who may have been exposed to them must “take precautions.” .

“A cornered monkey is not the best kind of creature,” she said. “If they get bitten or spit on, that’s worrying.”

“But what is the chance that three random monkeys could somehow spread something bad to a first responder?” Dr Petersen added. “It’s not high.”

Dr. Suresh V. KuchipudiIf someone gets too close to a wild animal like a baboon being treated for any infection, says a clinical professor in the department of biomedical and veterinary sciences at Pennsylvania State University. The risk of spreading it to others is very high. slow.

Public health concerns were not the sole cause of the accident.

After PETA contacted Kenya Airways, the company said last week that it would not renew its contract to transport the monkeys when it expires this month. In doing so, it joined a number of airlines, including major US carriers, whose refuse to transport animals used in medical research.

PETA declare victory in a news release. It also asked United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Transportation to investigate the accident, warning of a dangerous lack of supervision for the transport of primates.

Dr Jones-Engel said in a statement: “U.S. laboratories were unable to prevent tuberculosis, cholera, campylobacteriosis, Chagas disease or other deadly pathogens from infecting monkeys that were not infected with the disease. they bred and tested. monkeys on our highway trucks across the country. ” Question left after highway incident involving monkeys

Fry Electronics Team

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