A woman who is believed to have fallen ill after a close encounter with an escaped monkey has insisted she is "not sick" and is concerned that people think she has "a monkey virus" after her story about the incident blew up in the media.
Speaking with the Daily Item, Michele Fallon dismissed media reports about her health, stating that she had received 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 outlet, explaining that she had been exposed to people who had tested positive with COVID-19 at a birthday party on Friday night, which could explain why she experienced flu-like symptoms after the incident with the monkey, which took place hours earlier.
Fallon was traveling on an east central Pennsylvania highway when she came across an accident scene. A trailer had collided with a dump truck, causing crates of monkeys to be dumped along the roadway, so she stopped to investigate to see whether the truck driver was OK.
In a Facebook post, Fallon explained that another person at the scene who had called 911 said there were cats in the crates.
"So I went to check on the cats. I pulled back a green cloth. I could see it's brown fur. So I said kitty kitty," she recalled. "I stuck my finger inside to pet it. It made like a grunting noise. So I got a closer look. And a monkey pops up and hissed at my face."
It later emerged that the monkeys were being transported to a Missouri lab.
Shortly after the incident, Fallon said she was contacted by the CDC, which told her she was "at a very low risk of anything" but recommended that she "get checked out anyway" because she was starting to feel unwell. She went to a nearby hospital where a doctor said he wanted to take precautions and gave her rabies shots and antibiotics.
"I'm worried. People think I have a monkey virus," Fallon wrote on Facebook amid reports that this species of monkey commonly spreads herpes virus B through saliva, feces or urine.
Geisinger Medical Center spokesperson Joe Stender said the hospital was following Pennsylvania Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
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