When he developed swollen lymph nodes, chills and nausea on Aug. 16, Luke Morrison thought he had a cold or the flu.
Two days later he woke up ‘itchy’.
“I look in the mirror,” he said, and “I have a rash all over my body.”
He went to the emergency room, where he was tested for monkey pox. Two days later, the Louisville man received a call that he had indeed contracted the rare disease, which health experts said poses a low risk to the general population.
“This is real and I never thought it would be me,” he said. “I really didn’t.”
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He is now sharing his story to help reduce the stigma surrounding monkey pox and show that people can get it in different ways. He’s seen comments online calling it a “gay disease,” and, “it’s just… bigotry.”
“I want people to know… you can get it from almost anyone, anywhere,” he said. “So I just want people to be careful… and just do their research.”
Men who have sex with men account for the majority of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but anyone can contract monkeypox through close contact with someone who has it — by touching things a patient has touched, personal contact, and hugging and kissing. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, according to the CDC, although it can be spread through sex and other prolonged physical contact.