(PARABNORMAL NEWS) — Michele Fallon witnessed a truck carrying 100 lab monkeys crash in Pennsylvania last Friday afternoon. She became sick and is now on a two-week antiviral regimen and has received her first dose of the rabies vaccine. The story then changed to say Fallon did not get sick from contact with the primates, but rather was a convenient bout of COVID-19.
“I thought I was just doing the right thing by helping. I had no idea it would turn out this way,” Fallon told TV station WBRE. “The next thing I know, the dump truck crashes into the trailer and it spins and both of them crashed into the trees.”
Pennsylvania State Police say a silver Dodge Ram pick-up truck hauling the Macaque monkeys in a specialized trailer collided with a passing dump truck near the intersection of Interstate 80 and Route 54 near Danville.
Fallon had been driving behind the truck when the driver pulled out in front of the dump truck, causing the collision and spilling the crates of monkeys. She got out to assist the drivers and said of the truck driver: “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.”
The monkeys reportedly arrived in the United States from the island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Various reports from Philly Voice and New York Post claim they were destined for an unnamed, CDC-approved quarantine facility in Florida or Missouri.
Initially, there were local reports of four escaped monkeys, which triggered a large scale search by Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Within 24 hours, all reported missing monkeys had been located and reclaimed.
Macaques are considered highly valuable for experimental research, each worth as much as $10,000. One of the diseases spread by long-tailed macaques is Herpes B, which can be transmitted through saliva, feces or urine. Infections, though extremely rare, can lead to the development of blisters and potentially life-threatening complications if left untreated, according to the CDC.
PETA has condemned how the incident was handled, including the exposure risk to humans and the decision to euthanize the escaped monkeys without explanation. The organization filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which confirmed it has opened an investigation.
Residents near the crash site are urged to monitor their health for any signs of infection and seek medical attention immediately if symptoms begin to appear.
The identity of the driver and passenger of the truck carrying the monkeys have not been disclosed at the time of this report.