With monkeypox still spreading in Quebec with 52 confirmed cases, Montrealer who had been in contact with an infected person agreed to testify anonymously about his experience in the health system.
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Unfortunately for Zack (not his real name), his roommate goes to the emergency room after developing a high fever with night sweats and blisters for about two weeks.
“I was coming back from a flight from New York last week to see my roommate had a fever and sweating, and then I saw boils appearing on his body. Zach explains that he had complete hypochondria, especially after his visit to the emergency room. I also had to go there.”
In fact, because his roommate’s call status recently announced he had monkeypox, Zac also chose to go to the emergency room at CHUM at the beginning of the week.
“We felt a real benevolence on their part as a desire to do well with something that little is known about,” he explains.
With this certification, he would like to confirm the high-quality care and advice he receives from caregivers in a new situation.
He also noted some ambiguity with regard to the transmission of new knowledge about the disease, and with regard to obtaining vaccinations for cases of contacts.
Long solitude … and labyrinths of exchange of contacts
Regarding his roommate, his symptoms developed about a week before he entered the emergency room for more than ten hours, and he is isolated for two weeks.
As for Zack’s visit to the hospital, the one that came mainly to “make sure he doesn’t have the virus and to take care of me I give the necessary preventive care, and even receive the smallpox vaccination,” was quicker but not accurate.
His decision to do so came during the latest public health press conference on the disease. The authorities had indicated that the cases of contacts should be vaccinated “as soon as possible.”
Throughout his trip to the CHUM emergency room, Zac had nothing but good words for the caregivers’ behavior and preparedness.
In particular, learn how the disease is transmitted between humans.
“As the CHUM nurse explained to me, you can catch this virus through sweat and material that a sick person comes into contact with and contaminates,” he explains.
“My roommate hasn’t had sexual intercourse in the past few weeks, but after he’s been to his gym in Hochelaga a few times, he’s definitely picked it up here, according to the nursing staff,” he adds.
However, the nursing staff was perplexed as to what procedure should be followed to deal with his ‘contact case’ file and what additional advice or care should be given to him.
In fact, he only received one real piece of information: NO VACCINES AT CHUM!
“Through this visit to the emergency room, I learned that only Health Canada takes care of vaccines.”
Ambiguous immunization procedure and few doses
Zack adds that “Health Canada took care to contact my roommate at the beginning of the week as part of their investigation to then decide whether or not it was necessary to contact me for a vaccine.”
“They want to decide whether or not the contacts we might have present a proven risk of smallpox transmission,” he said.
Health Canada actually contacted Zach right away and he was given a prophylactic vaccination on the same day. Since he was now protectively protected, he did not have to spend a period of seclusion.
“In any case, I was told that as long as I didn’t have a fever or other symptoms, I wouldn’t have a period of isolation to respect,” he adds.
As far as our witness has learned, this measure is in place due to minimal supply of the vaccine, and this is while the incidence of monkeypox continues to increase in the country and in the rest of the world.
So Zack calls for vigilance and also hopes that the path of care for patients and contacts will become more fluid and less ambiguous as we learn about this disease.
As a reminder, the disease is manifested primarily by “the onset of fever, severe headache, adenopathy (swollen lymph nodes), back pain, myalgia (muscular pain) and marked asthenia (lack of ‘energy),'” according to Who.
We now also know that its mode of transmission is “primarily by direct contact of damaged skin or mucosa with healthy skin or mucosa, and also by droplets or by contact with infected linen,” according to various epidemiologists.
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