Man suffering with monkeypox speaks out as cases rise in Chicago area

Health officials have been calling monkeypox a major concern here in the U.S. and around the world.

Now, FOX 32 Chicago is hearing from a man in recovery from the virus. He talks about the pain and the stigma.

"Day 15 of monkeypox, just giving you guys a look at my lesions," he said.

The man, from Houston, wanted to remain confidential, but did share his videos documenting his experience and recovery, which is expected to take three and a half weeks.

"If it's hard to look at, imagine what it's like to have. There are a lot of people that have sores not on their face but on their genitals or anal rectal area, and they are going through some serious pain. They didn't deserve to get it, they just got it," he said.


A letter from the CDC director explains how pain management has been a major issue for those infected.

Monkeypox is causing extreme oral, anal and genital pain so extreme that it's leading to issues eating, urinating and defecating.

Here at home, McHenry County has confirmed its first case in an adult male. Oak Park is also investigating a probable case of monkeypox.

Statewide, there are more than 400 confirmed or probable cases of the virus — 85% of cases are in the city of Chicago.

Statistics from Chicago's health department shows those infected are majority men, with only one woman being infected. The virus is impacting white men the most, followed by people from the LatinX, Black and Asian communities.

"We've been pushing very hard to get vaccines here, because Chicago is an epicenter for this outbreak," said Allison Arwady, Chicago's health commissioner.

Symptoms include headaches, muscle aches, fevers and lesions that can appear all over the body and can be contagious.

Health officials say the risk to the general public remains low, as monkeypox is spread through close skin-to-skin contact.

Vaccines are effective, but take time to work.

"It can take three weeks for it to take effect. Being vaccinated doesn't give you protection.," said Mike Ryan, Emergency Director of the World Health Organization.

With the limited vaccines in Chicago, the shots are only being given to those who've had close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, such as men who have sex with men, and those who have certain risk factors.

On July 29, 2022, the White House began shipping out almost 800,000 vaccine doses nationwide, prioritizing at-risk populations.