A Georgia woman has gone public with her experience with monkeypox – one of the few cases in a woman so far reported in the United States during the outbreak.
Camile Seaton, 20, first noticed bumps on her face on July 11 and assumed they were acne. By July 16, more bumps appeared and she went to the hospital for testing and it was confirmed that she had the virus. Now, a month later, she is left with several visible bumps on her face and her 3-year-old daughter still lives with family to protect her from the virus.
Seaton described the infection as incredibly painful, and in a video posted on her TikTok page, she rated the pain an “87” on a scale of 10. Seaton also said that the painful lesions on her hands make it difficult to hold the phone or even do routine household chores.
Seaton (pictured) described the pain from her monkeypox infection as an 87 out of 10. It was so bad she had trouble doing some homework.
Cases of monkeypox have been mostly among gay and bisexual men since the country’s outbreak in May. And some experts warn that the virus has already spread to other vulnerable populations.
So far, at least five pediatric cases have been confirmed in the US, with many more potentially missed. As a result, some are calling for expanded vaccine testing and availability.
Federal officials are taking steps to make monkeypox jabs more affordable in America, approving plans to split doses by fifths to make the shortage even further.
The move comes as the US monkeypox outbreak – the world’s largest to date – has reached 9,492 confirmed cases. New York has by far the largest share of cases, with 2,104 in the state.
Seaton told People that the bumps that initially formed on her face in mid-July turned white quickly, telling her something was wrong, but she wasn’t familiar with monkeypox and its symptoms at the time.
The mother of one went to a local hospital for testing a few days later and her case of monkeypox was confirmed.
“I was touching a lot of money. The mask laws were lifted so we had no masks. I wasn’t wearing any gloves,” Seaton said. “I just wasn’t careful and touched my face and body and I’m subconsciously carrying a lot of bacteria.”
Her symptoms escalated rapidly when she returned home. Multiple lesions appeared around her body and she also suffered from fever, rash, headaches and muscle and joint pain.
“It was uncomfortable. I sanitized everything, you know, like I wash my hands every 15 minutes,” Seaton said.
“The lesions on my face were the first to appear and the bumps stayed on my face for a week and a half. And as my face began to heal, bumps began to appear on my body.”
The situation got so bad that she had trouble just going about her daily life.
“I have a lot on my hands so it was hard for me to do anything with my hands… I couldn’t hold the phone. I couldn’t do anything around the house. I couldn’t even fold my clothes. It was extremely painful.’
Seaton sent her three-year-old daughter to live with the family in an attempt to protect her from the virus. She also stopped going to work. In an interview with CBS, she said she still hasn’t returned to work and her daughter hasn’t returned home.
“He’s really attacking you and taking a toll on you. It is very, very painful. I want people to know it’s here and it’s spreading. It’s not a joke,” she told People. “I can do what I can for the scars…they will fade, but you’ll always notice they’re there.
Seaton is a rare case among women, but some cases of fear in people who are not gay or bisexual men are largely overlooked.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration and current board member of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that the virus will only be controlled if more people are tested.
“There’s potential to get it back in the box, but it’s going to be very difficult at this point,” Gottlieb said.
“We’re continuing to look for cases in the MSM community, it’s primarily spread in that community, but there’s no question that it’s spread outside of that community at this point and I think we need to start looking for cases.” more widely.’
Although exact federal figures are not available, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a briefing last week that the group still makes up the majority of cases.
In July, New York City officials revealed that 95 percent of cases in the Big Apple — the nation’s hotbed of monkeypox — are men. At least three out of five confirmed cases involved those who identified as gay, bisexual or lesbian.
Seaton said she was not offered the Jynneos vaccine or any monkeypox or smallpox therapeutics when she presented the case.
America is currently struggling with both testing and vaccine shortages. Until now, they were reserved for men who have sex with other men.
The CDC has greatly expanded its testing capacity in recent weeks and is now able to conduct 80,000 per week through its own testing and agreements with private partners.
Last week, Walensky said only about 10 percent of America’s testing capacity is being used, opening the door for a significant expansion of the number of people who should be tested.
Experts fear that this epidemic could soon get worse as well. Colleges and universities across the United States are set to begin a new school year in the coming weeks.
Young students are more likely to engage in reckless sexual behavior, creating the perfect storm for potential monkeypox outbreaks across the country.
“As we head into the fall, I am concerned about outbreaks on college campuses because they are often places where individuals engage in high-risk sexual activity and are in close contact with many different people,” Dr. Rachel Cox, Assistant Professor. at the Mass General Health Institute of Health Professionals, he told CNN.
“We need to make sure we’re ready to allocate resources like tests, vaccines and antivirals to places that may become outbreaks.”