An Indianapolis man describes what it was like to have monkeypox

The CDC reported 5,189 confirmed cases of monkeypox nationwide as of July 29. At least 49 Hoosiers have been diagnosed.

INDIANAPOLIS – Monkeypox cases continue to rise across the country and in Indiana.

As of July 29, there were 5,189 confirmed cases nationwide, according to the CDC.

Among them is James Ferguson of Indianapolis. He was isolated and quarantined at home for four weeks.

Ferguson described the disease as “extremely difficult” and said her experience of being tested, diagnosed and treated at the end of June was terrifying.

Ferguson is one of 49 Hoosiers diagnosed with the virus since June 18.

The disease most commonly affects men, especially men who have sex with men, but anyone can get the monkeypox virus. Women and children were also positive cases. It is spread through close physical contact.

Ferguson’s symptoms were initially mild. The wounds on the skin are small.

“I noticed I wasn’t feeling myself, and it started like a real mental fog and fatigue. Then I thought I got bitten by a chigger or a bug or something. I mean, it’s Indiana, mosquitoes or something,” Ferguson said. “And I thought, ‘Oh, this looks like chicken pox.’ And as soon as I said that, I was like, Oh, no.

RELATED: Yes, monkeypox can be spread by wearing clothes or changing sheets

The wounds increased. Then headache and fatigue led to fever and pain.

“So I’ve got three on my face,” Ferguson said. “I have them on my scalp, on my back, on my chest, some on my arms. I mean, they’re everywhere. And…they hurt,” Ferguson said. “I started working with a fever of 103 degrees that I couldn’t break with Tylenol or ibuprofen for five days. During that time, many days, I just had terrible body aches.”

The 32-year-old Christian counselor from Indianapolis also had trouble getting probation and treatment. According to him, they went to the emergency room three times to determine the diagnosis.

“If I had tested positive the first time, it would have changed the way I was treated and I wouldn’t have the symptoms I have now,” Ferguson said.

His is correct. Early detection can lead to better outcomes.

Madison Weintraut, assistant infectious disease administrator for the Marion County Health Department, said monkeypox has been a learning curve for doctors and health care workers.

A lot has changed since Ferguson passed the test in late June.

“I can say in the last month we’ve seen a lot of improvement,” he said.

Weintraut recommends contacting your primary care physician or health department as soon as you notice symptoms or a new rash.

RELATED: When Should You Get Tested for Monkey Pox?

In positive cases, close contacts can get vaccines to stop the spread and even prevent the person from getting sick.

“If we give it within four days, we can prevent the disease. If we give it within 14 days of the last exposure, we can reduce the severity of the disease,” Weintraut explained.

It happened with Ferguson.

“When they passed the confirmation test, they were happy to give the vaccine to everyone I came in contact with,” he said.

Now recovered, she wants to help others stay healthy and encourages people to take care of themselves.

“It’s a hopeful thing for other people, that there is a treatment,” Ferguson said. “Definitely go to your provider. Get them to treat you. If you don’t feel right, you have a rash, get them tested. If it’s negative and you’re still sick, get them tested again because it takes multiple times to make a diagnosis. can be done.”

The vaccine is now limited. Federal officials acknowledge that demand has outstripped supply. But Indiana is expecting more shipments soon from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The plan is to eventually give it to at-risk groups as a form of prevention.

In fact, the Marion County Health Department is advising people interested in getting the vaccine once it becomes available by clicking here, “Where can I go to get the vaccine?”

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