'It's been a journey': Man with first Monkeypox case in Durham County shares story with ABC11

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Friday, July 15, 2022
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The man with the first case of Monkeypox in Durham County is sharing his story with Eyewitness News.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The man with the first case of Monkeypox in Durham County is sharing his story with ABC11.

"The sores seem to be healing but it's been a journey," said the 29-year-old Durham man who wanted to conceal his identity. "Not a lot of people have been listening. It's a process where I felt like I've had to fight at every step of this to get a test or be taken seriously and no one did until the test came back positive."

The 29-year-old was traveling in Europe in mid-June. He said he knew almost immediately what it was when the sores developed.

"Particularly also knowing that I am a man who has sex with men and I fit all the high-risk categories," he said. "Seems like something that's more likely than not to happen."

He came back to Durham and ran a high fever for days. Finally, in early July, he went to the emergency room. He said he even called the CDC at one point because no one was helping him.

"They told me to contact my primary care doctor or local health department," he said.

When he tried that, he felt like he ran into roadblocks.

"I believe I'm particularly well-informed and I feel like I'm fairly proactive and it has been a disaster trying to receive care for this," he said. "I'm concerned about someone not being as well-informed as I am."

The Durham County Health Department has updated its vaccine criteria for people to get the Monkeypox vaccine.

Duke Health said they can't test for Monkeypox at their labs and hospitals but they now collect specimens and send them to outside labs for testing.