NL Gazette

N.L.’s health system wasn’t prepared for monkeypox, say the region’s first two patients

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • In an exclusive interview, two men say they didn’t get proper testing details from 811.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s first two monkeypox patients weren’t tested in time because they weren’t given accurate data by healthcare staff.

The first two individuals diagnosed with monkeypox in Newfoundland and Labrador say false news from the local Public Health unit prevented them from getting adequately tested and delayed access to safety for their close contacts. 

Both men — CBC News has decided not to identify them because they’re concerned regarding the stigma associated with the disease — attended various Pride events outside the region at the end of June.

The 22-year-old man who was the first possible case, which Public Health declared July 28, stated he had been at a Pride event outside Canada at the end of June.

He says he began feeling sick when he returned. At first, he thought he had COVID-19. Only after a buddy told him about monkeypox patients he identified at parties he attended did he admit he might have it.

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The first two individuals diagnosed with monkeypox in Newfoundland and Labrador say false news from the local Public Health unit prevented them from getting adequately tested and delayed access to safety for their close contacts

811 said no testing was available

He phoned 811, the local health line.

“They didn’t have any data or an idea of how I could get testing or if the region had tested,” he said.

It took two weeks for him to visit his family physician. By then, a rash he’d created and bumps on his arms had recovered.

Instead of being directed to Public Health, he was sent to a dermatologist for the scarring. It wasn’t till the dermatologist warned Public Health that he was told to go to an emergency room for testing.

But by then, it was too late to assure monkeypox because he had healed. Based on his disclosure and symptoms, he was told he probably had it.

Source – CBC News

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