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'It's an ugly, painful monster' | San Diego man infected with monkeypox shares his experience

There are currently 104 confirmed or probable cases of monkeypox in San Diego County.

SAN DIEGO — As the monkeypox outbreak continues in San Diego, a local man tells CBS 8 his experience with the disease has been painful.

"It looks like your body is trying to push out these bumps. They're not going at the speed you want them to. They're kind of just there. They're swollen, they sting, they're painful. It's not just my hands, [they're on] my nose, I have a couple on my head," said Manny Soltero.

The 33-year-old works as a general manager at a San Diego hotel. 

He said he first started feeling flu-like symptoms the last week of July. He said he had avoided all pride events, but he did attend an outdoor event for Comic-Con.

Initially he thought he had COVID, but all of his tests came back negative. Once the lesions appeared, he went to the emergency room where he was tested for monkeypox.

However, Soltero said because the test results didn't come back right away, he put out a plea on Twitter for help. A company ended up sending him a kit to test himself at home. He said his results came back positive. 

Soltero said he was relieved just to know what was wrong with him, but the lesions make every day tasks difficult. "It's uncomfortable to hold my phone, to shower,  to lay down when you go to sleep. It's difficult to do all normal tasks," he said.

He drove to Los Angeles to get an experimental treatment called TPOXX, but said so far, his symptoms have remained the same.  

Soltero said he doesn't know how he contracted monkeypox.

"It's an ugly, painful monster. It's not just hovering behind your shoulder, it takes over your body. You're the host, it takes over and there's no fighting it once you have it," he said.

He set up a GoFundMe account to help with his medical bills. He isn't sure how long he'll have to stay home for work. 

WATCH RELATED: San Diego County to host virtual monkeypox townhall

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