The CDC reports that as of July 29, there are 5,189 confirmed cases of monkeypox nationwide. At least 49 Hoosiers have been diagnosed.
Indianapolis – Cases of monkeypox continue to rise across the country and here in Indiana.
The CDC reported as of July 29 that there are 5,189 confirmed cases nationwide.
Among them is James Ferguson of Indianapolis. He has been isolated at his home for four weeks.
Ferguson describes the disease as very painful and said his experience with screening, diagnosis and treatment was grueling in late June.
Ferguson is one of 49 Joses diagnosed with the virus since June 18.
The outbreak mostly affects men, especially men who have sex with men, but anyone can get monkeypox virus. Women and children also had positive cases. It is spread by close physical contact.
Ferguson’s symptoms were mild at first. The sores on his skin were small.
“I noticed I wasn’t feeling myself, and it was really starting to look like mental fog and tiredness. Then I thought I was bitten by bugs or bugs or something. I mean it’s Indiana, I think mosquitoes or something,” Ferguson said. Sort of like chicken pox.” And then as soon as I said that, I had an aha moment and thought, “Oh no.”
Related: Yes, monkeypox can be spread by trying to get dressed or changing bed sheets
Pests multiplied. Then the headache and fatigue led to fever and pain.
“So there are three on my face,” Ferguson noted. “I put them on my scalp, my back, my chest, some on my arms,” Ferguson said. “I mean they are everywhere.” I started having a fever of 103 degrees that I couldn’t get rid of with Tylenol or ibuprofen for five days. All that time, many days, I had severe body aches.”
The 32-year-old Indianapolis Christian counselor also faced obstacles in testing and treatment. He said it took three emergency visits to get a diagnosis.
“If I had been tested the first time and came back positive, it would have changed the way I would have been treated so dramatically, and I wouldn’t have the symptoms that I have now,” Ferguson said.
he is right. Early detection can lead to better results.
Monkeypox has been a learning curve for doctors and health care providers, said Madison Weintraut, associate director of infectious diseases for the Marion County Department of Health.
A lot has changed, even since Ferguson was tested at the end of June.
“I can say in the last month, we’ve seen extreme improvements,” she said.
Weintraut recommends contacting your primary doctor or health department as soon as you notice symptoms or a new rash.
Related: When should a monkeypox test be done?
In positive cases, close contacts can get vaccinations to stop the spread and even prevent a person from contracting the disease.
“If we give it within four days, we can prevent 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 got the confirmation test, they were really good at delivering the vaccine to anyone I’ve been in contact with,” he said.
Now recovering, he wants to help others stay healthy and encourages people to advocate for their care.
“It’s something hopeful for others who might be receiving this is that the treatment is there,” Ferguson said. “Definitely go to your provider. Insist they treat you. If you don’t feel well, you have a rash, have them test you. If the result is negative and you still feel bad, have them retest you because it can take several times to get on diagnosis.
The vaccine is now limited. Federal officials acknowledge that demand is outstripping supply. But Indiana expects more shipments soon from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The plan ultimately aims to give it to the at-risk groups as a form of prevention as well.
In fact, the Marion County Health Department says that people interested in receiving the vaccine when it becomes available can sign up for a notification here, under “Where Can I Go to Get a Vaccine?”