A man hospitalized with monkeypox said he couldn’t swallow his spit and was afraid he would die

Harun Tulunay during his stay in a London hospital with monkeypox.Aaron Tolunay

  • A man in his 30s with severe monkeypox said he needed hospital treatment for 11 days.

  • Aaron Tolunay said his throat was so sore he couldn’t swallow his spit.

  • Pregnant women, children, and those with compromised immune systems may be at risk of developing severe monkeypox.

A man who was hospitalized with monkeypox for about two weeks told Insider he couldn’t swallow his spit and was afraid he would die.

Monkeypox usually causes mild illness, with most people recovering within a few weeks without treatment.

But Aaron Tolunay, a 35-year-old charity worker in the UK, spent 11 days in hospital with what doctors told him was one of the most severe cases of monkeypox they treated.

Pregnant people, children under 8 years old, those with eczema, and people with weakened immune systems may be at risk for severe monkeypox. Tolunay suffers from HIV, which can destroy immune system cells, but said blood tests indicated he had a strong immune system at the time of his monkeypox infection.

Dr. Jason Zucker, an infectious disease specialist based in New York who was not involved in the Tolunay case, told the New York Times that “for a percentage of people, it’s much worse than I expected” but it’s unclear why.

Tulunay is one of 2,137 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK since an unusual outbreak broke out in at least 50 countries in May. Most cases in the UK are in London, where Tulunay, who is gay, lives, and where he is believed to have caught her after kissing someone. In the United States, there were 2,323 confirmed cases of the disease as of Wednesday, spread across 43 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, but was mostly concentrated in New York. No one has died of the disease in either country.

There are a large number of cases among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But anyone can get it from touching an infected person or touching contaminated objects such as bedding. As Insider’s Hilary Brooke previously reported, the disease is not a “homosexual disease.”

Tolunay said the pain felt like flesh had been cut from his bones

Tolunay began feeling unwell on June 13 with a mild fever he thought was from COVID-19, but tests came back negative.

Over the next 24 hours, he said, he developed excruciating pain all over his body that felt “like your flesh being ripped from your bones.”

Five days later, he developed a fever over 103 degrees FahrenheitAnd the Swollen glands and sore throat. Despite the heatwave in London, Tolunay said he slept with four blankets, adding that he had a heat rash from a fever.

Tolunay overdosed on paracetamol and ibuprofen, as well as other medications he had at home that he hoped would help: antibiotics, hay fever tablets, and over-the-counter sleeping pills. Nothing works.

He also noticed a painless, pain-like spot on his nose but didn’t think much about it.

Heat rash Aaron Tolunay

Tolunay said he developed a rash from the high temperature.Aaron Tolunay

Four days later, Toloni had a monkeypox test at his local hospital and a medical review for any other disease that could be causing his symptoms, as test results were not immediately available.

Doctors took him out on the same day with antibiotics for tonsillitis. A nurse called daily to check on him, but for the next three days, he said his throat became so sore and swollen that he couldn’t eat or drink or swallow his spit.

‘I thought I was going to die’

After Toloney told the nurse he couldn’t swallow his spit, she immediately arranged for him to be admitted to the hospital, where he was treated with paracetamol and opioid painkillers.

“A friend called me,” he said, “and I vividly remember telling her I thought I was going to die because nothing got better.”

Three days after he was admitted to the hospital, Toloni’s test confirmed he had monkeypox, and wounds appeared on his hands, legs, and feet.

“My throat and mouth were completely covered,” he said, adding that the lesion in his nose had become infected.

Tulunay's infected nose with raised yellow bumps around a discolored hole

A bacterial infection developed in a monkeypox pest in Toloni.Aaron Tolunay

Tolunay was taken to a specialist hospital for treatment with an experimental drug that works on smallpox, a virus related to it.

Doctors treated him with hazmat suits to protect themselves, and Toloni said that, and being in his room was the worst part of the experience.

“I was wondering, would I ever hug someone again?” he said.

After another five days in the hospital, Tolunay was discharged from the hospital and fully recovered, apart from a scar on his nose, ending his isolation on July 14.

Tolunay said he did not announce his story to scare people but to raise awareness so that people would be more considerate of others and empowered to take care of their health.

“Look at me,” he said. “It took a while, but I’m fine.”

Read the original article on Insider

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