‘It was super scary’: First Washington resident diagnosed with monkeypox talks about his experience

Ryan said he was experiencing “strange” symptoms five days after returning from a trip. He detailed his struggle to get the correct diagnosis from health care providers.

SEATTLE — The first person to be diagnosed with monkeypox in Washington State sat down for an exclusive interview with KING 5.

The World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox a global health emergency. The United States is currently reporting nearly 5,000 cases of the disease.

Monkeypox is an infection that is mainly spread through close contact with other infected people. The infection can lead to a rash that appears as pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth or other parts of the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Ryan, who asked that his surname be withheld, said he started experiencing “strange” symptoms five days after returning from a trip to the UK.

“Kind of a thing on my skin,” he said.

Ryan went to his dermatologist and GP but said they were dismissive.

“I thought to myself, how can I find a doctor who will put more effort into this?” said Ryan.

Ryan found a community clinic that did several tests that all came back negative, so he started doing his own research and went back to the doctor.

“We agreed we should talk to the CDC, and then we did and it went from there,” Ryan said. He was then immediately tested for monkeypox and tested positive 36 hours later.

“It was super scary, and I think the resulting stress and anxiety probably exacerbated the symptoms,” Ryan said.

At that time, Ryan was the first confirmed case of monkeypox in Washington State. He said Public Health – Seattle and King County was extremely helpful.

“Since then, a lot more information has come to light and we know a lot more about the rate at which it is spreading and yet it still seems like the reaction hasn’t changed much,” Ryan said.

Seattle and King County HIV/STD Program Director Dr. Matthew Golden said the number of monkeypox cases is doubling every week and the current vaccine supply cannot keep up.

“We think ideally we would have at least 80,000 doses of vaccine, what we currently have is only 6% of that,” Golden said.

King County received its final shipment of 3,300 vaccine doses on Wednesday and vaccinated people at Harborview Medical Center. They plan to continue vaccinating a third in Harborview, while sending a third to county providers and the final third will be administered through community vaccination events which they hope will take place in 10 days.

Ryan recently requested to be vaccinated and King County told him he was not considered eligible as he recently recovered.

“We have tools that can prevent the spread and we’re not using them to the fullest, that’s what I’m having a hard time seeing,” Ryan said.

His friends went to Canada to get vaccinated.

“I also considered going to Canada or somewhere else to get it,” Ryan said.

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