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EXCLUSIVE: Rancho Mirage man infected with monkeypox discusses frustrations with response

Update 7/29/22:

Phelan was able to get treatment.

Original Report:

In a News Channel 3 exclusive, Peter Daut spoke with a Rancho Mirage man who says he is currently infected with monkeypox.

Daniel Phelan, 63, is speaking out because he says he is frustrated by the response from local health officials.

"What is the message you would like to share with the public," Peter asked Phelan.

"Be your own advocate.  No one's going to advocate for you. Be aware that there is no process right now and that if you're not showing symptoms, but you believe you may have been exposed, to do what you can to try to get a vaccine," Phelan responded.

Statement from Riverside County in response to the interview:

-Upon receiving information from a patient or healthcare provider, contact tracing is prioritized for probable and confirmed cases (which means when a lab test has returned positive) and post exposure prophylaxis is offered to close contacts and high risk.

-When a laboratory test returns positive, a conversation also occurs about TPOXX eligibility.

-If TPOXX is requested, for those who test positive and meet criteria, efforts are made to get an emergency supply from the state if needed, coordinate with a patient’s healthcare provider, and/or coordinate assistance regionally via local counties (dependent on their ability to assist out of county patients) through the approved federal process.

We want to warn you, some of the images in the story are disturbing.

As we reported earlier this week, Phelan expressed his frustration to local and state health leaders during a virtual town hall meeting. You can learn more about that story here.

As of Thursday, July 28, there are four confirmed cases of monkeypox and 24 probable.

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

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There are a number of ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, including:

  • Always talking to your sexual partner/s about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus
  • Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • People who become infected should isolate until their symptoms are improving or have gone away completely. Rash should always be well covered until completely healed.
  • Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
  • Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
  • Avoiding contact with infected animals

Monkeypox is generally spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting from infectious rashes and scabs, though respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during extended physical episodes, such as sexual intercourse, can also lead to transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox, or have been vaccinated for it, may have immunity to monkeypox.

People with symptoms are urged to visit a medical provider, cover the rash area with clothing, wear a mask and avoid close or skin-to-skin contact with others.

The CDC particularly recommends those steps for people who recently traveled to an area where monkeypox cases have been reported or who have had contact with a confirmed or suspected monkeypox case.

A full list of countries that have confirmed monkeypox cases is available at
A state-by-state tally of cases is available at

Link: CDC’s tips for preventing exposure to Monkeypox. 

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

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Jesus Reyes


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