CHESTER COUNTY, PA. (THECOUNT) — Michele Fallon, of Danville, Pennsylvania, the woman who came into close contact with an escaped lab monkey on the side of a Chester County interstate, is now saying she has developed pink eye-like symptoms and is now on preventative medication.
A truck hauling 100 macaque monkeys from Africa was headed to a lab in Missouri when it collided with a dump truck Friday at Route 54 and Interstate 80 in Valley Township.
Michele Fallon, of Danville, said she pulled over to help the driver when the animal hissed in her face.
“I thought I was just doing the right thing by helping — I had no idea it would turn out this way,” said Fallon. “He just asked if his trailer was okay. He never said, ‘if you do come near a crate do not touch it,’ if he would have told me that, I would have been more careful,” reports Fox8.
That’s when she came face-to-face with an agitated monkey.
Three monkeys in all escaped during the ordeal. During the search, officials warned the public not to come near the monkeys because they could transmit disease.
“I was close to the monkeys, I touched the crates, I walked through their feces so I was very close. So I called to inquire, you know, was I safe?” said Fallon.
Since the monkeys, which have since been accounted for, were not quarantined and monitored, the CDC told Fallon she needed to take precautions because she was in close contact.
According to the CDC, the species commonly spreads herpes virus B through saliva, feces or urine.
Fallon says she grew concerned because she has an open cut on her hand and developed pink eye-like symptoms, so she went to the emergency room.
She just received her first dose of rabies vaccine and a round of antiviral medication.
“Because the monkey did hiss at me and there were feces around, and I did have an open cut, they just want to be precautious,” said Fallon.
Fallon will be on preventative medicine for about two weeks.
The USDA is now investigating the incident after PETA filed a complaint. The animal rights organization put out a statement today urging the United States to stop importing monkeys for experiments.
Geo quick facts: Chester County, colloquially known as Chesco, is a county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 498,886, increasing by 5.2% to a census-estimated 524,989 residents as of 2019. The county seat is West Chester – Wikipedia.