Woman Who Encountered Escaped Lab Monkey 'Not Sick'

A woman who supposedly fell ill after having a close encounter with an escaped laboratory monkey in Pennsylvania is "not sick."

Michele Fallon has said that despite media reports about her health, she is not unwell and had been given rabies shots and antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

"I want people to know I am not sick regardless of what they are reading that has been put out there in the media," she told the Daily Item.

A truck carrying 100 imported macaque monkeys was headed to a Missouri lab when it collided with another vehicle on January 21 on an east central Pennsylvania highway. Fallon was the first to the scene and had gone to help the driver when one of the escaped monkeys hissed in her face.

In a Facebook post which can be found here, Fallon said that the driver of the truck had not advised her to stay clear of the monkeys, which is why she had approached them. "I am worried. People think I have a monkey virus," she wrote.

News reports that followed said Fallon had fallen ill, leading to conspiracy theories surfacing online.

Some people took to the internet suggesting that the crash was staged in order to start another pandemic. Jason Boothe tweeted: "Isn't this how the virus in the movie 'Outbreak' started?"

People took to social media to share their theories.

Another Twitter user, Randy Brown, said: "Monkey virus? Well, COVID is fading, courts are batting down mandates. Doesn't look like it will hold till the midterms. So...another "lab accident"!! Monkey virus!! Zombies!! Pink eye!! I think there was a movie about this one."

According to the CDC, this species of monkey commonly spreads herpes virus B through saliva, feces or urine. Joe Stender, spokesperson for the Geisinger Medical Center, where Fallon was treated, told the newspaper the hospital is following guidence from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC. It will treat anyone potentially exposed to the monkeys.

In the interview with the Daily Item, Fallon said she had attended a party after the monkey incident where a number of guests later tested positive for COVID.

"I explained what happened and they said I was at very low risk of anything but I went to get checked out anyway because I started to not feel well," she told the newspaper, saying COVID could have been the cause of her symptoms.

The monkey escape incident is currently being investigated by the the U.S Department of Agriculture following a complaint filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA.)

PETA said that the CDC should be scrambling to ensure that numerous other people who were at the scene are not in danger of catching a disease. The organization has also raised concerns that the monkeys have not received veterinary treatment.

Monkeys and other primates may be brought into the United States for scientific, educational or exhibition purposes.

However, PETA said that this happens with no oversight, and monkeys often endure day-long trips sitting in their own urine and feces. PETA said that this incident is another reason why it is calling for the closure of nationally funded primate research.

macaque monkey
A stock photo shows macaque monkey's. Travel Wild/Getty Images