Arizona man details his diagnosis of monkeypox as cases rise in the country

Monkeypox cases are on the rise in the Phoenix area and across the country, and the Biden administration recently declared the outbreak a public health emergency.

Over a hundred cases of monkeypox have been reported in Arizona and getting the vaccine has been difficult.

A Valley man who wishes to remain anonymous says he is battling the disease and explains the problems that come with it.

“I woke up Sunday morning and my lip was completely swollen, and on top there was just a little white patch, and it was oozing,” he said.

Later that day he went to the hospital, not knowing what was wrong. After scans and other tests, they finally decided to test him for monkeypox.

“They asked me if I was gay and if I had left the country recently. I’m gay, but I haven’t left the country,” he said. The next day he got the results.

He was positive for a disease now classified as a public health emergency.

RELATED: Monkeypox: What you need to know as the United States declares a public health emergency

“For the doctors to tell you they don’t know anything about it is scary because what am I supposed to do? I didn’t even get painkillers for this until Friday,” he said. .

He has been in self-isolation, waiting to receive the antiviral drug he is unlikely to see until Monday, marking exactly one week since his diagnosis.

He says he called the Maricopa County Health Department, his primary care physician, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), feeling like he had to fight the medical community all along. along the way.

An Arizona medical expert said doctors learn about the disease with the public.

“It’s not like they’ve seen monkeypox or have seen it earlier in their career, so there’s a learning curve for clinicians to effectively learn what the rash looks like.” , says Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

AFTER: CDC expands monkeypox testing with commercial labs

Humble says there are only three labs that can test for monkeypox in Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Health Services does not require cases to be reported, which means we don’t have an accurate reading.

This “puts Arizona at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with other states for the limited vaccine supply that exists,” Humble said.

While most of those who have been infected recover, there are situations where this is not the case, making access to vaccine or antiviral drugs crucial to stopping the spread.

“Technically it’s not a sexually transmitted infection like Chlamydia or syphilis or anything like that, but the direct intimate skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sex spreads this virus,” Humble explained.

And after? Humble says Arizona is currently on the rise and we will see the number of cases increase in the near future.

Monkeypox? What is that?

According to the CDC, monkeypox is caused by a virus belonging to the same genus of virus that causes smallpox.

Monkeypox, according to the CDC, was first discovered in 1958, following two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research purposes.

The first human case of the disease was recorded in a country now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, during a period of intensified efforts to eliminate smallpox. Since then, the disease has been reported in people in several countries in Central and West Africa. Cases have also been reported in the United States, as well as a number of countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

According to the CDC website, it usually takes seven to 14 days from the time of infection for a person to start feeling symptoms of the disease, but the incubation period can also range from five to 21 days. .

The disease, according to the CDC, begins with:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Back ache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

CDC officials say that within one to three days of the onset of fever, the infected person will develop a rash, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash will eventually dry up and fall off.

According to the World Health Organization, symptoms of monkeypox typically last two to four weeks.

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