TESTIMONY.  Monkeypox: "My neck, cheeks and tongue have doubled in size," says one patient

TESTIMONY. Monkeypox: “My neck, cheeks and tongue have doubled in size,” says one patient

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Thomas, a Parisian, contracted “monkey pox” in early July. Fever, swelling, the young man bears witness to his pain with La Dépêche du Midi.

Thomas, 26, contracted monkeypox during the Gay Pride Parade on June 25 in Paris. “I think I kissed an infected person,” he says. “What is certain is that I did not catch him for sexual contact.” In fact, a week after Pride, a large node appeared on the young man’s neck, accompanied by extreme tiredness. He then thinks he has caught a cold. “I went to see my GP who told me it looked like angina.” However, the fatigue quickly turns into a fever. “I hovered between 38 and 39°C, my temperature was changing all the time, I had a hard time sleeping,” he says.

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“My mouth had become completely infected”

Worse yet, within hours, Thomas’s symptoms worsened. “My throat started to burn, my lymph nodes swelled.” “My throat was so sore I couldn’t swallow, eat or drink without feeling like I was swallowing knives,” he says. At the same time, an unusual large pimple appeared on his arm.

The next day, the young man wakes up with pimples on his arms, pelvis, and thighs. “Cela ressemblait à des crises d’urticaire. Pas à des boutons de variole du singe comme on peut en voir sur Internet. In all cases, j’ai began to tell me that this peut-être un peu plus grave qu’ angina”. The Parisian then calls Samu, who advises him to go to the hospital. “On the site, they were overwhelmed and I couldn’t get a date right away.”

The pimples on Thomas's arm

The pimples on Thomas’s arm

Later, the young man manages to pass the exams, “but in the hospital they did not seem very worried,” he admits. However, the situation is getting worse. “The hives escalated and became more virulent, the pimples spread to my chest. My mouth had become completely infected, I had lesions all over the inside. My lips, neck, cheeks and tongue doubled in size.”

Thomas can no longer open his mouth, speak or eat. He “he was really in a very important state of weakness”. He ends up going to the emergency room. “I needed the pain to subside, everything that had been prescribed to me until now did not work.” Very powerful painkillers are then prescribed. “I no longer felt anything and had absences. He no longer had a fever but I became a big vegetable”. Three days later, at D+9 after the first symptoms, Thomas receives the results from him: he is positive for monkeypox…

Also read:
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“I haven’t heard from the hospital…”

Today, more than a week later, Thomas is better. “I was very, very sick for about eight days,” he sums up. His pimples have almost healed. However, in retrospect, he laments the lack of follow-up and explains that he was a bit “fallen into the unknown”. “After my positive test, I didn’t hear from the hospital, or from my GP, who I had gone to see again.” He only knows that he has no right to leave his house. “I’m supposed to be confined for three weeks, but I really don’t know since when.” The hospital has just given him a teleworking certificate until the end of July and a sheet with some instructions. “I will only go out when I have no more pimples, the scabs have healed and fallen off. In the meantime, I prefer to isolate myself and protect everyone.”

The young man also denounces lack of prevention. “I had heard about monkeypox before from people talking about it on social media. Several couples, and we ended up in the hospital in impossible pain. If I had had more prevention, maybe I wouldn’t have kissed anyone, or I would have had the good reflex to go get tested as soon as symptoms appear.

Thomas also stresses the importance of vaccination. “I really hope that people get vaccinated as much as possible, at least the populations at risk. However, there is no more information than that and there are no seats available in Paris”, he laments.

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