Life with monkeypox: 'You feel very alone in this'
(NewsNation) — There are now more than 7,500 monkeypox cases in the U.S.
Camille Seaton, 20, was the first known Georgia woman to contract the virus.
“It was crazy. I was like, ‘What is wrong with me?’ Like, wow,” she said.
She thinks she may have picked it up at her job at a gas station, where she is tasked with handling money as a cashier.
“I say I got it from touching dirty money or touching surfaces … just not being mindful of what I’m touching and then touching my face and then touching my hands and then touching my body,” she said. “Because let’s be for real, not everybody washes their hands every 15 minutes.”
Seaton checked herself into an Atlanta hospital after noticing some strange-looking bumps on her face. She said she felt overwhelmed by the experience.
“Every doctor who would come into my room had a big ol’ gas mask on and bubble suits and made me feel really alienated. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s wrong with me, for real?'” she told “NewsNation Prime.”
Because there’s no immediate cure for monkeypox, the hospital presented Seaton with few options.
“The doctors basically kicked me out of the hospital. … They said since there’s no cure and it’s new to them and there’s no treatment, like you feel very alone in this,” she said.
Dr. Anthony Harris, the CEO and medical director of HFit Health, told “NewsNation Prime” there are numerous ways to contract monkeypox.
“We know that monkeypox is and can be transmitted primarily through skin-to-skin contact, with the body fluids from the pustules itself, but (also) prolonged skin-to-skin or touching … materials that were handled or soiled with body fluids from someone infected from monkeypox,” he said. “So, indeed, this may present, as the cases continue to rise, a possible work-related type of exposure, particularly if you’re in an at-risk environment, particularly health care environments as well as hospitality (industry).”
Skin-to-skin contact can include hugging, cuddling and kissing as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. The people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men. But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.
No one in the United States has died, though a few deaths have been reported in other countries.
Last week, the federal government declared a public health emergency to bolster the response to the monkeypox outbreak.
The announcement was expected to free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body.
The urgency in the current response stems from the rapid spread of the virus coupled with the limited availability of the two-dose vaccine called Jynneos, which is considered the main medical weapon against the disease.
Seaton, meanwhile, is forced to isolate while she has the virus, meaning she can’t work. However, she has set up a GoFundMe to support herself.
Watch the full interview with Camille Seaton in the video player at the top of the page.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.