Monkeypox sufferer warns infection is ‘worse than Covid’ as emergency declared

A man suffering from monkeypox has warned of additional symptoms to watch out for after saying the disease was "worse than Covid".

Harun Tulunay had initially thought he was suffering from long Covid, having only recently caught the virus.

Feeling unwell, he thought the fever he was experiencing would pass but after some time it became clear that he was a victim of something else.

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Hospitalised and isolated, the 35-year-old suffered symptoms so bad they would make him pass out and even developed nasty lesions on his face,MyLondonreported.

A sexual health advocate and public speaker, Harun had a fever that ran with a temperature of 39.7C – but despite this, he had to layer up with four blankets because his chills were so intense.

On June 10, he began to feel the effects of fever but a Covid test came back negative. His glands were swollen and painful under his ears while a red and white rash began to develop – although he initially wrote it off as a side effect of the fever.

It wasn’t until after two days of being very ill had gone by that he even noticed the lesion on his nose.

He said: "I was unable to sleep and I was burning up with [a] fever [of] 38C. The rash started out as red and white, I didn't have any blisters or anything. A couple of days later when I checked myself in the mirror, because I was so ill I wasn't well enough to get up and look in the mirror, I noticed a little [lesion]on my nose but I didn't give much thought to it and had no idea it could be monkeypox, I thought it was acne or something.

"When my fever and pain hadn't changed for a whole week, my friends became really concerned and so I reached out to 111 for help. I called five or six times when my fever was high and each time I told them the symptoms I was experiencing.

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"At this point, my fever was so high I was passing out and couldn't move. I would get asked the same questions over and over again – the answers were always the same. They said 'if you get worse call us' and each time I got worse the next day and when I called them the response was the same. My diagnosis was delayed a lot because of this, but I don't blame them."

Harun was advised to get in touch with a sexual health clinic and to test for monkeypox.

Unsure still about what was making him unwell, he headed to the clinic in a mask, moving through the building via an isolated route.

"Because we know very little about this condition people are afraid of it,” he said. “I went to the A&E and they didn't know what to do other than keep me isolated and gave me painkillers."

But in hospital, he soon found it hard to swallow.

He added: "I just wanted to know what is happening to me and what action can we take, I didn't want to die from a high fever – my concern was not knowing what I had."

Harun was eventually diagnosed with monkeypox and was put on treatment that had originally been approved in the USA.

Monkeypox has now been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation.

Harun said: "I had the worst experience ever in the last few weeks, it was worse than Covid and I've had that twice. I wanted to share my story to educate people and normalise the conversation around monkeypox. My case is really rare – the person who transmitted this to me had it really mild – he had some lesions but he wasn't as ill as I was.

"The lesion was so big and scary I was crying thinking it was going to leave a scar, it is scary waking up in the night alone shivering and being alone in an isolated room not knowing if the drugs they are giving you will work or when your lesion will disappear."

He said that his lesion has now shrunk and he’s feeling much healthier – now he just misses being at home.

For more information about his journey, follow Harun’s progress onTwitter.

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