the pain and loneliness of the sick

Jeremy’s first pimple looked like acne. That of Ynes, to a mosquito bite. A feeling of fever appeared as well as a strong fatigue, accompanied by awakenings in soaked sheets. “I never sweat and it’s as if someone had thrown a bucket of water at me during the night”, describes Ynes (the people testifying in this article are referred to by their first names only). Like 1,837 people in France, on Tuesday July 26, the 36-year-old caregiver and Jérémie, 38, contracted the monkey pox virus.

This infectious and contagious disease caused by a virus, the spread of which worries the World Health Organization (WHO), has been considered since July 23 as a public health emergency of international concern. This is only the seventh time that the WHO has used this level of alert, the highest in the organization. While the risk worldwide is considered relatively moderate, it is considered high in Europe, where the first three cases were detected in the United Kingdom in early May. The epidemic now affects nearly 16,000 people in seventy-four countries.

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At first, the disease can be confused with other infections, due to non-specific symptoms that vary between patients. Fever, muscle aches, fatigue, “I thought I had contracted Covid-19”, recalls Ynes. The doctor treating Mikaël, 38, had suspected angina. After multiple consultations, erroneous diagnoses, pain such as “an open wound sprinkled with lemon juice” Where “stab wounds in the anus”as well as itching, Ynes calls the SAMU, three days after his first symptoms.

Three weeks of isolation

Ynes, who is a transgender woman, is rushed to the emergency room. “I hear transphobic remarks, I am poorly received, I have hypotension, I am told that I am fine when it is not at all, I suffer and I don’t know why. » When she shows her rashes which have gradually become purulent, “I was finally diagnosed with monkeypox”. The caregivers prescribe tramadol and then morphine, two powerful analgesics. “Above all, do not come back to the hospital, isolate yourself for three weeks”, allegedly threw a carer at her before she left.

Monkeypox is transmitted by direct contact with mucous membranes and broken skin, or with contaminated surfaces or objects. It can also be transmitted by respiratory droplets, during prolonged face-to-face exposure. Health insurance thus imposes twenty-one days of total isolation, without physical contact with others, “from the date of onset of symptoms until complete healing of the skin lesions”, she specifies.

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