“I thought it was a pimple,” says monkeypox patient

On July 15, a Friday, language teacher Heitor Sartorelli, 30, went out with three friends to a bar. Between conversations, laughter and aperitifs, he had no idea that he would come out infected with the monkeypox. The transmission happened because one of the professor’s friends was infected, but had not yet been diagnosed.

Heitor says this friend had a sore throat for a few days. He had already gone to the doctor, but until then the suspicion of monkeypox, the virus that causes monkeypox, had not been raised. “I think most doctors haven’t considered [ser varíola dos macacos]says Heitor. According to him, they even submitted his friend to the Covid test “and obviously it had been negative because it was not [essa infecção]On the day of the meeting, Heitor’s friend had shown improvement in his sore throat as he was taking medication to relieve the symptom.

That same weekend, however, the teacher’s friend returned to experience irritation in his throat and again sought medical attention. Then monkeypox was considered. On Monday (18), the professor’s friend was tested for the disease and notified contacts – including Heitor, who felt a slight fever a day later. “I thought it was psychosomatic because he told me,” he says.

However, in the early hours of Thursday (21), Hector’s fever rose. This is one of the symptoms that can occur in monkeypox. Swollen lymph nodes are also a common manifestation. That same Thursday, Heitor’s friend’s diagnosis was ready – the result was positive for monkeypox. Thus, the professor requested medical assistance the same day. He also canceled a family reunion. “I opted for isolation.

Hector’s test result, which involved scratching two neck wounds, came out on Monday (25). Like his friend, he was positive for monkeypox. “It was really worrying the first few days, because I didn’t know how the disease was going to evolve,” he says. Even with the fears, his image remained light and the teacher’s period of isolation ends this Friday (5).

Although ape transmission of smallpox focuses on sexual contact, Heitor’s case is an indication that infection can occur in different settings. The professor specifies that the meeting at the bar with friends took place outside the establishment and that there was no intimate contact. “We literally sat down to have a snack together.” He also claims that even before meeting his friend, he had no history of intimate relationships with sexual partners. “So it couldn’t even be sexual contact.”

The other two friends at the bar had no symptoms of monkeypox. Heitor suspects he was the only one infected as he was sitting next to his friend who already had the disease. He also claims that his friend only later noticed a mark on his hand that could be one of the monkeypox wounds.

“I must have probably touched his hand without seeing that he had the injury.” According to studies, skin-to-skin contact with rashes is an important form of transmission, whether it occurs during sex or not. Like his friend, Hector had simple injuries. In addition to two located on the neck, there was a third on the side of the body. As they were very subtle, the lesions confused the professor – one of them he even squeezed, thinking it was a pimple.

“These are very simple wounds. They don’t itch or hurt. So much so that I thought it was a pimple. The only person who noticed it was the doctor,” says -he. Experts have previously reported that many patients have barely noticeable skin rashes with monkeypox. The scenario may delay the diagnosis, as patients think it is not a case of monkeypox and are confused with other illnesses.

Hector experienced a similar situation. Asked by this journalist if he would have suspected monkeypox if his friend had not tested positive for the disease, the professor replied categorically: “never”. “I only went to test it because I contacted a friend who had a positive diagnosis. If it wasn’t for that, I would have thought it was just the flu or a common cold. I think therein lies the great danger.” (Samuel Fernandes/Folhapress)

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