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Texas man says monkeypox infection took a toll on him

He’s not sure exactly how he got it, but Luke was contacted by the Dallas Health Department, which told him he may have been exposed to monkeypox.

DALLAS — Until Tuesday, monkeypox had impacted only men in Texas, but now, the first female case has been reported. Those who have recovered from the virus called it traumatic.

“It was just the luck of the draw," Luke said.

The past three weeks of Luke’s life have been, in his words, "complete hell."

“The entire pain was just constant," Luke said.

He’s not sure exactly how he got it, but Luke was contacted by the Dallas Health Department who told him he may have been exposed to monkeypox.

“I was at bars. I was going to pool parties. I did attend a music event over the weekend and recently all of those people have been becoming positive," Luke said. “Apparently it was a contact tracing phone call.”

Sure enough, the symptoms and the suffering soon followed. So did the blisters.

"You have these blisters that are inflamed and anytime it grazes something or touches something, it literally feels like someone is taking a potato peeler to your skin," Luke said.

The state is now reporting 110 cases of monkeypox and said 5,000 doses of the vaccine have been allocated to Houston. But the Houston Health Department said it’s only for those who have been exposed. Houston’s dashboard is reporting 22 cases.

Luke was able to get the vaccine but said his friends have had trouble.

“There are a few that are fighting trying to get the vaccine," Luke said.

“There’s not a lot of information out there about where to get tested. There’s not a lot of information about getting vaccines," Austin Davis Ruiz, with The Montrose Center, said.

The Montrose Center is doing everything it can to help clients find information and resources on the virus, but understand it can be frustrating.

“It definitely is something that we need to be paying attention to. This is not just a gay illness, this is not something that just affects gay men that have sex with men. This is definitely something that can affect everybody," Davis Ruiz said.

After three weeks, Luke’s almost out of quarantine, but won’t soon forget what he went through.

“It’s the most traumatic experience I’ve ever had. It’s the worst sick I’ve ever been. Just please help us get that vaccine out," Luke said.

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