Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
Gay Men in England Diagnosed with MonkeyPox
James M, 35, has become the first British monkeypox patient to go public
The first British monkeypox patient to go public is an HR manager from London who caught the virus after being deported from Dubai for testing positive for HIV, MailOnline can reveal.
James M, 35, has spoken out after claiming that health chiefs still haven't contacted him despite being diagnosed with monkeypox nearly a fortnight ago.
He slammed the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) for 'a real lack of any basic process or care to stop the spread' of the tropical virus, which has so far infected more than 300 Britons, mostly gay and bisexual men.
James — who wished to keep his surname anonymous — admitted he is not following self-isolation rules because 'I was told to stay home until UKHSA contacted me... and they never did.'
He accused the UK of having a lackadaisical approach to contact tracing, saying it was 'no wonder' Britain had more cases than any other country outside of Africa. There is also a lack of awareness about monkeypox's lesser-known symptoms, he claimed.
James was readjusting to life in west London when he began suffering from 'really weird aches' in his lower back, exhaustion, extreme thirst and pain when he used the toilet.
He became convinced he had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) after sleeping with around 10 new partners in the weeks before his symptoms started.
'I’m a gay man, and having just come back to the UK, I was having a good time,' he told MailOnline.
But medics wrongly assumed it wasn't monkeypox because he didn't have the virus' tell-tale rash.
James had just returned from Dubai, where being gay is illegal, after four years following a 'shock' HIV diagnosis in February. It saw him lose his job and home.
After contacting his local STI clinic in west London, James was sent for tests at a specialist centre in Soho on May 25 and was told to avoid public transport or close contact with others.
'When I got to the clinic I was told to go and wait outside the main door and call them, they said they were going to put on PPE and they told me not to touch door handles,' he said.
'The whole experience kind of heightens your sense of, "oh this must be really serious". I remember going to Covid centres and it wasn't as daunting or overwhelming as this.'
At the time, several dozen people had already been diagnosed with the mystery monkeypox virus and it was clear the virus was spreading in London among gay and bisexual men.
The UKHSA claims it has tried on multiple attempts to get in touch with James.
He admitted he is not following self-isolation rules because 'I was told to stay home until UKHSA contacted me... and they never did'
But James claims he was assured by medics that his symptoms could not be the rare disease because he did not have its hallmark lesions, scabs or spots.
On May 28, three days later, a PCR test confirmed that he was in fact infected with monkeypox.
A letter sent by Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, seen by MailOnline, instructed him to 'stay in isolation at home until further review from the team' at UKHSA.
James has still not been contacted, despite eight days passing since the letter was issued. He claims he has phoned his local STI clinic every day since the diagnosis.
Four more people in England have allegedly been diagnosed with monkeypox.
Per the BBC, symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that develops on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.
Here’s more from the report:
The new cases – three in London and one in north-east England – do not have any known links with two other cases confirmed on 14 May or another case announced on 7 May. The UKHSA says investigations are under way to establish links between the latest four cases, who all appear to have been infected in London.
Monkeypox is reportedly linked to travel to West Africa. It’s worth noting that, per the report, the four new cases are all men who self-identify as gay or bisexual. The are also nearly a dozen reported outbreaks in Spain, all among gay men.
The risk to the public remains very low, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
Monkeypox “usually takes between five and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear,” per the report.
According to the BBC report, monkeypox does not spread easily among people but it can be transmitted through:
UKHSA chief medical adviser Dr. Susan Hopkins said: “This is rare and unusual. UKHSA is rapidly investigating the source of these infections because the evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact. We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay,” she explained.
“We are contacting any potential close contacts of the cases to provide health information and advice.”
Read more about the virus here.