Health

Monkeypox: ‘I literally screamed out loud in pain’ – patient shares symptoms to spot

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared monkeypox to be a global health emergency last Saturday. This classification describes the highest alert that the WHO can issue. This decision was made at the end of the second meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the virus. This comes as more than 16,000 cases have been now reported from 75 countries.

The 39-year-old Swedish man living in Brooklyn is one of these monkeypox cases. In Sebastian’s case, the disease kicked off with fatigue.

His first symptoms that followed tiredness were high fever with chills and muscle aches.

His lymph nodes also took the hit as they started swelling, leaving Sebastian’s neck with a “protruding” throat.

According to the NHS, the tell-tale rash linked to the infection usually appears a few days after the first symptoms.

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For Sebastian, the rash cropped up two days after the initial signs appeared.

Speaking to The Guardian he said: “The rash started as anorectal lesions – painful sores on my anus and rectum.

“Initially it was a stinging, itchy feeling.”

He explained that as a healthy person with no underlying problems, he wasn’t scared at this point and expected the condition to be mild.

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However, this was only the start of the exotic infection as what followed left him in “excruciating” pain.

He developed hives all over his body, headache, “arthritis” pain in fingers and shoulders as well as a “strange” pain in his shin bone.

“At night, I would wake up going crazy with both pain and itching from the lesions and hives, just sitting up in bed and scratching myself,” the 39-year-old said.

The lesion eventually started looking like mosquito bites before becoming “pimply” and popping.

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Sebastian said: “My anorectal lesions, which were already very painful, turned into open wounds.

“It felt like I had three fissures right next to each other, and it was absolutely excruciating.

“I would literally scream out loud when I went to the bathroom. Even keeping the area clean, like washing myself, was extremely painful.”

During the peak of the disease, the New Yorker had over 50 lesions and an intense pain that prompted a panic attack.

Similarly to Sebastian’s symptoms, the NHS explains that monkeypox can cause a vast array of signs, including:

  • High temperature
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen glands
  • Shivering (chills)
  • Exhaustion
  • Rash (often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body).

It can take between five to 21 days for the first signs to appear. Sebastian shared that his symptoms started a week after attending New York Pride festival.

Apart from monkeypox, he also developed bacterial tonsillitis while battling the infection. He’s currently still in isolation.

The NHS recommends contacting a sexual health clinic if you have a rash with blisters and have been in contact with someone suffering from monkeypox.

It also advises staying at home and avoiding close contact with others.


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