A woman with ‘severe’ monkeypox says she was not offered a vaccine or antiviral treatment

Camilla Seaton had monkeypox

Camilla Seaton

Despite recovering from monkeypox, Camille Seaton delivered groceries and food from her home and was reluctant to leave the house for long.

The Georgia man’s journey with the virus began on July 11 when he noticed a few bumps on his face, thinking it was acne and ignoring it. “But that night they turned white. That’s how I knew something was up,” Seaton, 20, tells PEOPLE.

Seaton went to the hospital on July 16 for a lab test after a rash quickly appeared on his face. He learned a few days later that monkeypox had been confirmed — the first in his state — and what he thought were pimples were actually sores. He said he believes he contracted the virus through constant cash handling at a local gas station where he worked.

“I was touching a lot of money. Because the mask laws were lifted, we didn’t wear any masks. I didn’t wear any gloves,” Seaton explains. “I just wasn’t careful, touching my face and body and unconsciously transferring a bunch of germs.”

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Camilla Seaton had monkeypox

Camilla Seaton had monkeypox

Camilla Seaton

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Monkeypox is spread through skin-to-skin contact, but experts say it can also be spread by large respiratory droplets. According to Dr. Linda Yancey, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, said it is “absolutely possible” that monkeypox could be transmitted through things like money, because the virus can live in the environment for days.

“So monkeypox is a cousin of smallpox… It could very well be,” Yancey tells PEOPLE. “Actually, one of the cases in the US was a lady who was exposed to sheets. She cleans Airbnbs. So high-touch items like money, doorknobs, shopping carts can be infected.”

Seaton said he didn’t know anything until he contracted monkeypox, and his symptoms quickly worsened while he was isolated at home. Along with the lesions, he experienced fever, rash, headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain.

“It was embarrassing. I was disinfecting everything, you know, like washing my hands every 15 minutes,” Seaton said. “The sores on my face were the first to appear, and the bumps stayed on my face for a week and a half. As my face started to heal, the bumps started to appear on my body.”

“I have a lot on my hands, so it was difficult for me to do something with my hands,” he adds. “I couldn’t hold my phone. I couldn’t do anything at home. I couldn’t even fold my clothes. I was in so much pain.”

RELATED: WHO declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of ‘international concern’

Camilla Seaton had monkeypox

Camilla Seaton had monkeypox

Camilla Seaton

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Seaton explains that overcoming the symptoms was simply a waiting game because she was not offered the vaccine.

Monkeypox can be prevented with the Jyneos smallpox vaccine, which is effective even after a person has been diagnosed, according to the CDC. Along with the vaccine, health professionals have also used an antiviral treatment, such as teclovirate for monkeypox (TPOXX), in patients who are more likely to become seriously ill.

Although medical staff were unable to give Seaton antiviral drugs, they prescribed amoxicillin and steroids because he was diagnosed with strep at the same time. The monkeypox doctors just gave him Tylenol to bring down his fever.

“The healing process of monkeypox lasts from two to four weeks, some people get better in a week, some in two weeks, some in four weeks. In my case, it took three and a half weeks. healing, – he continues.

Camilla Seaton had monkeypox

Camilla Seaton had monkeypox

Camilla Seaton

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“I was in contact with someone from the CDC, and he was with me through the whole process,” Seaton notes. “I checked in with him and sent pictures every time something changed until he was healed.”

After weeks of stay-at-home orders, Seaton was cleared on Aug. 1 after CDC officials said he was “officially cleared.” However, she still has reservations after her recovery and is not yet comfortable bringing her 3-year-old daughter back home.

Seaton told PEOPLE it’s been a “tough and emotional” few weeks, urging others to wear masks and gloves and admitting she wants the state to “shut us down one more time.”

“It really attacks you and hurts you. It’s very, very painful. I want people to know it’s out there and it’s spreading. It’s not a joke,” Seaton said. “I can do the best I can for the scars…they will fade, but you’ll know they’re there forever.”

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