'Aids monkeys' freed by Hurricane Andrew

MIAMI (AP) - Dozens of monkeys roaming the streets after being freed from a laboratory by Hurricane Andrew alarmed people who feared they carried Aids, although a laboratory official said on Wednesday there was no threat to humans. Two baboons also were loose in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal prison compound. All the inmates of the prison, including the former Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, had been evacuated from the damaged compound.

About 50 out of 330 rhesus monkeys housed at the University of Miami's primate research laboratory went missing after the hurricane destroyed their cages. Although some were used in Aids research, they were not infected with the virus, Joseph Wagner, the university's director of veterinary resources said.

'A lot of these monkeys are crucial for Aids research. Without these monkeys, Aids research will be severely hindered,' Dr Wagner said. 'Some people are shooting animals. That's absolutely uncalled for.' He said some monkeys had also escaped from a research laboratory in Florida City.