Last week, Clark Marino became the latest San Diegan to test positive for monkeypox. According to the county, there have been at least five other cases reported in the county.
“I started experiencing a little bit of itching on the Fourth of July,” said Marino. “It was very very minor."
Initially, Marino, 31, dismissed the symptoms thinking he was probably just sunburned.
But after receiving a call from a friend informing him he had tested positive for monkeypox, Marino realized his symptoms could potentially be connected to the disease.
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“After a long phone call with the nurse on the phone, and doing a very thorough examination of my body, we did find that there were lesions that had developed,” said Marino.
Marino says over the next few days his symptoms worsened.
“The itching was very intense, to the point where I woke up in the middle of the night just from how itchy and painful that area was,” said Marino.
He says he also experienced night sweats and fevers. A few days later after testing for the virus he received his results: he was positive for monkeypox.
According to the CDC, the illness typically lasts two to four weeks and the severity can depend on the initial health of the individual. Luckily, for Marino, it only lasted about a week.
More on Monkeypox
“I lucked out in that it was the best, best case scenario for a very bad scenario,” said Marino.
Now, Marino says he feels it is his duty to educate his community about monkeypox.
“I really want to stress that this is not a sexually transmitted disease, although it can be transmitted through sex, it is a close contact disease,” said Marino.
The CDC says monkeypox spreads through direct physical contact with lesions as well as respiratory droplets shared through face-to-face interaction and touching items that have been contaminated by monkeypox lesions.
Marino hopes sharing his experience will help inform people about what to look out for.
“If you are someone who is experienced in monkeypox symptoms, or you believe you've been exposed, you need to call the epidemiology unit,” said Marino. "There is a number on the county website.”
He also hopes vaccination and testing efforts are increased across the county.
San Diego made about 600 doses available for at-risk residents this week. But appointments for them quickly filled up. The county says they hope to receive more soon, but don’t know when.
Also, as of now, monkeypox tests are only being processed in a lab in Los Angeles which slows down the turnaround time. But county officials say that could change as early as next week. They say the CDC has announced they have contracted with a major national lab to help.
For information about resources, you can contact the county's public health department at 211.