The first American monkeypox patient to go public with his battle against the tropical virus has slammed health officials for a ‘lackluster’ job of testing for the virus, which has left many cases undiagnosed.
Matt Ford, a self-employed actor who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York City, has spoken out to warn people that the disease ‘sucks’ and they should take it ‘seriously.’
He blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their poor testing efforts, saying it took officials three days to diagnose his illness by which point he ‘already knew’ what they would say.
Revealing his diagnosis to Buzzfeed, Ford said he caught the virus after having ‘skin-to-skin contact’ with another patient.
The actor and writer, who describes himself as a ‘proud openly gay man,’ revealed he initially noticed spots in and around his ‘underwear zone,’ which indicated to him he had caught the virus.
Over the next few days they spread across the rest of his body, including his face, arms, hands and abdomen.
In total, he has counted 25 spots and said after appearing they began to ‘fill with puss’ and became itchy. Several — especially in the ‘sensitive area’ — became so painful they left him unable to sleep at night without taking painkillers.
‘I think in total I counted 25 and there are also some in more sensitive areas which tend to be the most painful. They’re so painful that I had to go to my doctor to get painkillers just to be able to sleep, like really f****** painful.’
Ford also began suffering flu-like symptoms in the early stages, ranging from a fever, chills, night sweat and a cough.
He is now isolating at home with most symptoms having largely subsided, but will remain there until the spots have healed over and the scabs dropped off.
When he first spotted symptoms on June 17, America’s monkeypox cases had just crossed into triple figures. But many scientists warned this was likely an ‘undercount’ because the CDC was carrying out so few tests every day.
The CDC was performing about 60 tests for monkeypox a day last week, leaving it unable to stay on top of the virus. But it has now sent more swabbing kits to private laboratories as it aims to ramp up testing to tens of thousands a day.