Tuberculosis Outbreak Among Monkeys in Michigan Laboratory

For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norton Shores, Mich.

Michigan state officials have confirmed that cases of tuberculosis (TB), which is potentially transmissible to humans, were found in February in monkeys imported from overseas, according to records obtained by PETA. Officials told the group that an investigation is ongoing. The primates had undergone a 31-day Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)–mandated quarantine at a facility in Florida before arriving in Michigan. The CDC quarantine apparently failed to detect infections in any of them.

Because TB can easily spread from monkeys to humans, today PETA rushed letters to state veterinarians and public health officials nationwide, urging them to prohibit monkeys from entering their states and to initiate a TB quarantine in all facilities that have received monkeys in the past six months. Thirty-nine states have primate laboratories.

Staff at Northern Biomedical Research confirmed to PETA that it is the facility affected. Two individuals in that lab tested positive for TB and were referred for treatment, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, as reported by MLive.

The primates involved are long-tailed macaques, listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and were imported from Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, which is the second-largest exporter of monkeys for use in laboratories worldwide. Local media in that country recently reported a TB outbreak among monkeys at one export facility.

“The test for tuberculosis in monkeys used by the CDC is notoriously unreliable, so negative results don’t mean the animals aren’t infected,” says PETA primate scientist and TB expert Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “PETA is calling on federal authorities to shut down the cruel and dangerous monkey-importation pipeline before it leads to the next pandemic.”

The CDC is aware of the TB outbreak in Mauritius, but it has so far declined to stop monkey imports from that country. Astonishingly, the CDC recently defied federal recommendations to comprehensively assess and conduct surveillance of the disease risks associated with imported primates.

According to records obtained by PETA, the CDC’s own documentation reveals an increase in the number of TB-infected monkeys arriving in the U.S. since 2021. PETA has urged the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases to take action to mitigate the risk to the public posed by imported monkeys.

The Michigan and CDC records obtained by PETA are available upon request.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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