‘You don’t want this virus’: California man with monkeypox urges others to get vaccinated | CNN



CNN

Matt Ford edits videos for a living, so it wasn’t hard for him to create one for TikTok. But her last post wasn’t some crazy dance or a video about how to peel a banana the right way.

It’s based on his own experience with monkeypox. His video was viewed around 250,000 times on Friday afternoon. He posted it to help educate people about the virus outbreak, to encourage people to get vaccinated, and to say very clearly, “You don’t want this.

Anyone can get monkeypox, but a “notable fraction” of cases in the global outbreak are in gay and bisexual men, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I became fully aware of it for the first time and noticed symptoms on Friday, June 17,” Ford told CNN from the county-ordered isolation at his Los Angeles home, where he will remain. a few weeks until it is no longer contagious.

He had hoped to go to Pride in New York last week. “But that wasn’t in the cards,” he said.

In the video, Ford explains how the virus spreads and shows some of his lesions.

Monkeypox is spread when a person comes into direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It can also be spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or by touching objects that have previously come into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has been affected, according to the CDC.

Ford said he was vaguely aware of an outbreak of monkeypox via Twitter, but didn’t know how close he got to the outbreak until a friend reached out to him. hand to let him know that Ford may have been exposed.

Ford said he immediately began doing a full body check.

“I noticed a few spots that I hadn’t noticed before,” Ford, 30, said. He said the spots looked like pimples or ingrown hairs, so he went to a West Hollywood clinic for a test.

Ford said a doctor took a swab and a few days later the test came back positive for monkeypox.

Ford said that in reality the test only confirmed what it already had new. The spots he found no longer looked like pimples.

“They grew very quickly and filled out,” he said, and they were painful, especially the spots in the most sensitive areas.

He said he also felt like he had the flu.

People with monkeypox may develop fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and feel tired. He said he also had night sweats, a sore throat and a cough.

Some of the lesions hurt so badly that he went back to the doctor, who gave him painkillers

“It came in really handy as I was finally able to sleep through the night,” Ford said. “But even the painkillers didn’t completely numb it. That made it bearable enough for me to fall back to sleep.

In the video, Ford is clear as he looks directly at the camera and warns others.

“Hello, my name is Matt. I have monkeypox, this shit sucks and you don’t want it,” Ford told his viewers.

Going around some of his 25 lesions, he shows his face, his arms and the spots on his abs.

“Those are really not cute,” he says to emphasize.

Although the disease is most common in West and Central Africa, this current outbreak has affected countries that have had few, if any, cases in the past.

As of Friday, there had been 460 probable or confirmed cases in the United States alone, according to the CDC. The Los Angeles County Health Department’s monkeypox dashboard said it had 35 of the cases.

The county confirmed in an email to CNN on Thursday that it is issuing isolation orders to people who test positive for monkeypox. Ford said it received its notice via email from the county on June 24.

Last Friday, LA County confirmed that some of the cases were in gay and bisexual men. Some of the men have attended a handful of big events. The county said it was working with organizers to notify attendees of a possible exposure.

The county has previously offered the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to people who have been exposed to others with monkeypox. This week, the Biden administration announced steps to bolster its response to the outbreak, detailing plans to offer more vaccines and testing to those most at risk.

Vaccines are in limited supply, but the administration has said it will expand access in areas of highest transmission. He said 56,000 doses would be made available immediately, with 296,000 vaccine doses over the next few weeks and another 750,000 over the summer. On Friday, the administration ordered an additional 2.5 million doses.

Since Ford first told friends he had monkeypox, others have let him know that they, too, have fallen ill.

Worried that too few people would know, Ford came up with the idea of ​​making the TikTok video and sharing it.

“It’s become clear to me since I got it that it spreads quickly,” Ford said. “That’s a big reason why I’m trying to speak out and raise awareness about this.”

The reaction to the video was “great”, he said. He was encouraged as several people told him they hadn’t known before and thanked him for spreading the word.

Ford also hopes the video can help end the stigma associated with the disease.

“There shouldn’t be any stigma,” Ford said. “It’s just a bad turn of events.”

“A lot of times I think silence is the enemy,” Ford added. “I’m happy to be able to let people know and hope more people are safe.”


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