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CDC sends precautionary letter to first responders after crash involving lab monkeys

The fire chief says the letter is standard operating procedure and that he has "no concerns for any of the first responders that were on the scene."

DANVILLE, Pa. — First responders in Montour County are keeping a close eye on their health after responding to the crash near Danville last week involving 100 lab testing monkeys.

A letter from the CDC was sent to those who responded to the incident.

"It gave a couple of symptoms to be on the lookout for, and it asked if anyone had direct contact with a loose monkey, which none of us did," said Chief Mike Kull of the Valley Township Fire Company.

Chief Kull was one of the first people on the scene of the crash. He tells Newswatch 16 that the letter is just a standard operating procedure.

"Any wild animal that we would have come in contact with, we would have gotten similar information provided to us with a different animal name plugged in," said Kull.

Newswatch 16 asked if any first responders have experienced any symptoms since the crash occurred last week. So far, he said all the responders are healthy. The 97 remaining monkeys are currently being quarantined at a facility in Missouri. The CDC said that the three that got loose were found and euthanized.

"I have no concerns for any of the first responders that were on the scene. During the quarantine period, we will monitor our health in the extremely rare case, but I am not worried or have any concerns about the first responders on scene," said Kull.

The letter sent by the CDC never stated that the monkeys were carrying the disease but said monkeys like this can get illnesses similar to humans.

"It did not say that they had a virus. If there were any known illnesses in these monkeys, they would have notified us and began some sort of medical treatment immediately," explained Kull.

The CDC letter says anyone who had direct physical contact with a monkey should seek medical attention and contact the Department of Health.

All others involved in the search should do the same if they have any symptoms of an illness.

Watch complete Newswatch 16 coverage of the crash involving the lab monkeys on YouTube.