Woman with 'Extremely Painful' Monkeypox Says She Wasn't Offered Vaccine or Antiviral Treatments

Camille Seaton documents monkeypox
Camille Seaton
Despite recovering from monkeypox, Camille Seaton is reluctant to leave home for long periods of time and has groceries and groceries delivered to her home.
The Georgia resident's journey with the virus began on July 11 when she noticed several bumps forming on her face, which she assumed was acne and ignored. “But that night they were already turning white. So I knew something was up," Seaton, 20, tells PEOPLE.
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After more bumps quickly appeared on her face, Seaton went to the hospital for lab tests on July 16. Days later, she learned she had a confirmed case of monkeypox — one of the first in her state — and what she thought were acne were actually lesions. She says she thinks she contracted the virus because she was constantly handling money at the local gas station where she works.
“I touched a lot of money. The mask laws were repealed, so we stopped wearing masks. I wasn't wearing gloves," explains Seaton. "I just wasn't careful and I've been touching my face and body and I'm subconsciously transmitting a whole host of germs."
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Camille Seaton documents monkeypox
Camille Seaton
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Monkeypox is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, but experts say it can also spread through large respiratory droplets. according to dr Linda Yancey, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, says it's "perfectly possible" that monkeypox could be transmitted through objects like money because the virus can survive in one environment for days.
"So monkeypox is a sibling of smallpox... It could absolutely be transmitted that way," Yancey tells PEOPLE. "And indeed, one of the cases in the US was a lady who was exposed to bedding. She cleans Airbnbs to make a living. Therefore, any high contact items such as money, doorknobs, shopping carts have the potential for transmission.”
Seaton says she knew nothing about monkeypox until she contracted it and her symptoms quickly escalated while isolating at home. Along with the lesions, she had fever, rash, headache, fatigue, joint pain, and muscle aches.
"It was uncomfortable. I disinfected everything, you know, like I washed my hands every 15 minutes," says Seaton. "The lesions on my face were the first to appear and the bumps stayed on my face for a full week and a half. And as my face started to heal, bumps started appearing on my body.”
"I have a lot to do, so it was hard for me to make anything with my hands," she adds. "I couldn't hold my phone. I couldn't do anything in the house. I couldn't even fold my clothes. It was extremely painful.”
RELATED: WHO declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of 'international concern'
Camille Seaton documents monkeypox
Camille Seaton
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Seaton explains that since she wasn't offered the vaccine, it was just a waiting game to get over the symptoms.
Monkeypox can be prevented with the Jynneos smallpox vaccine, which the CDC says can be effective even after a person is diagnosed. In addition to the vaccine, medical professionals have also used antiviral treatments such as tecovirimate (TPOXX) for monkeypox in patients who are more likely to become seriously ill.
Although medical staff were unable to provide Seaton with antiviral treatments, she was prescribed amoxicillin and steroids as she was also diagnosed with strep throat. For Monkeypox, the doctors gave her Tylenol to break her fever.
“The healing process for monkeypox ranges from two to four weeks, some people are fine in a week, some people are fine in two weeks, some people take the full four weeks. In my case, it took me three and a half weeks to heal," she continues.
Camille Seaton documents monkeypox
Camille Seaton
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"I was in touch with someone from the CDC and they were actually with me throughout the entire process," notes Seaton. "I checked in with her and sent pictures every time something changed until I healed."
After weeks of stay-at-home orders, Seaton was released Aug. 1 after CDC officials said she was "officially no longer contagious." However, she still has reservations after her recovery and is not yet comfortable bringing her 3-year-old daughter back home.
Seaton tells PEOPLE she's had a 'rough and emotional' few weeks and urges others to go back to wearing masks and gloves, admitting she wants the state to 'lock us up again'.
“It really attacks you and takes a toll. It's very, very painful. I want people to know it's here and spreading. It's no joke," says Seaton. "I can do what I can for the scars...they will fade, but you'll always know they're there."

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