TESTIMONY. Monkey pox: “My neck, my cheeks and my tongue have doubled in size”, says a patient

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Thomas, a Parisian, caught “monkeypox” at the beginning of July. Fever, swelling, the young man testifies to his pain with La Dépêche du Midi.

Thomas, 26, caught monkey pox during the Pride March on June 25 in Paris. “I think I kissed an infected person,” he says. “What is certain is that I did not catch him through sexual contact”. In fact, a week after Pride, a large ganglion appeared in the young man’s neck, accompanied by extreme fatigue. 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 oscillated between 38 and 39.°C, my temperature changed all the time, I had trouble sleeping,” he says.

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“My mouth had become completely infected”

Worse, within hours, Thomas’ symptoms worsened. “My throat started to burn, my lymph nodes swelled”. “My throat was so sore that 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 her arm.

The next day, the young man wakes up with pimples on his arms, pelvis and thighs. “It looked like hives. Not monkeypox pimples like you see on the internet. Anyway, I started thinking maybe it was a little more serious than angina”. The Parisian then calls the Samu, who advises him to go to the hospital. “On site, they were overwhelmed and I could not have an appointment right away.”

The pimples on Thomas’ arm

Later, the young man manages to pass examinations, “but at 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 my tongue have doubled in size”.

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

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“I haven’t heard from the hospital…”

Today, more than a week later, Thomas is doing better. “I was very, very sick for about eight days,” he sums up. His pimples have now almost healed. However, with hindsight, he regrets a lack of follow-up and explains that he was a little “dropped into the unknown”. “Following my positive test, I had no news from the hospital, nor from my general practitioner, whom I had gone to see again”. He just knows that he has no right to leave his home. “I’m supposed to stay confined for three weeks, but I don’t really know from when”. The hospital just gave him a telework certificate until the end of July and a sheet with some indications. “I will only go out when I have no more pimples, the scabs have healed and fallen off. I prefer in the meantime to isolate myself and protect everyone.”

The young man also denounces a lack of prevention. “I had heard about monkey pox before from people talking about it on social media. several partners, and that we ended up in the hospital with pain not possible. If I had had more prevention, maybe I would not have kissed anyone, or I would have had the good reflex to go get tested as soon as the symptoms appear.

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

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