Marietta woman asks for public's help after contracting monkeypox

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Aug. 6—A Marietta woman who contracted monkeypox has shared her story through social media and a GoFundMe that has now raised more than $11,000.

{p dir="ltr"}Camille Seaton, 20, said online that she has been out of work for nearly a month due to the monkeypox virus, which is up to 544 confirmed cases in Georgia as of Friday.

{p dir="ltr"}On her GoFundMe page, Seaton asked for help paying for monthly expenses, medical bills and her daughter's education. Around 400 people had donated a total of more than $11,000 to the campaign as of Friday afternoon.

{p dir="ltr"}In a video posted to a since-deleted account on TikTok, Seaton said she works in a gas station, where she thinks she contracted the virus.

{p dir="ltr"}While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that monkeypox is often spread through skin-to-skin contact, people may also contract monkeypox by touching a surface used by someone who has the virus.

{p dir="ltr"}The CDC said monkeypox can also be spread through intimate physical contact and from pregnant people to their fetus through the placenta. The monkeypox rash can look like pimples or blisters appearing on the face and other parts of the body, according to the CDC, and other symptoms may include fever, chills, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

{p dir="ltr"}In the TikTok video, which has been liked nearly 500,000 times, a rash is visible on Seaton's face.

While public health officials report most cases in the U.S. are among men who have sex with other men, that is not the only way the virus is spread.

"Now, you guys may think I got it sexually, because that's been going around, and I'm here to educate y'all and tell you that that's not the only way you can get it," Seaton said in the TikTok video.

As cases rise in Georgia and across the country, state and federal health officials have ramped up their response to the virus.

On Thursday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced in a briefing the Biden administration will declare the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, though details for the declaration are still being finalized. The CDC reported more than 6,600 cases nationwide as of Wednesday.

"Now that monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency, (Cobb & Douglas Public Health) hopes to be able to access additional funds, personnel and resources, including more testing supplies and more vaccine," said spokesperson Valerie Crow. "Our mission remains to quickly identify and follow-up with cases and close contacts, provide testing and vaccine, and to slow the spread of the disease."

There were 58 confirmed cases in Cobb and Douglas counties as of Friday, according Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb & Douglas Public Health.

While the county health department cannot comment on individual cases like Seaton's due to patient privacy laws, Crow said those who believe they may have monkeypox can contact the department's epidemiology office.

"Monkeypox is a notifiable disease and (the department) is following up with each reported case per CDC/DPH protocols," Crow said in an email to the MDJ.

In its newsletter Friday, the county health department said it is doing limited testing for the virus, in addition to commercial testing, and has started administering vaccines.

"Commercial testing is now available through doctor offices and urgent care. The health department also has some limited appointments, as well," the newsletter said. "This week, Cobb & Douglas Public Health has also begun to offer the Monkeypox vaccine to high-risk individuals. Please go to our website to register for an appointment."