Tualatin man says he’s been harassed after genetic disorder mistaken for monkeypox

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 10:47 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUALATIN, Ore. (KPTV)- A Tualatin man says his customers have mistaken his genetic disorder for monkeypox, even leaving angry complaints with his company.

Jose Torres suffers from neurofibromatosis or NF-1.

The National Institute of Health says NF-1 can cause benign tumors to form on nerve tissue.

Torres says in the last month or so, his company has been called multiple times by customers who Torres had helped, accusing him of being in public with monkeypox because of the tumors on his skin. Torres says he even was confronted while he was helping a customer.

“In the middle of it he took a couple steps back and he said, ‘now you don’t have that monkeypox thing do you? I’m not going to get that am I,’” said Torres.

Torres has had neurofibromatosis his entire life, and so do other members of his family. According to the NIH, most people with the condition develop benign tumors on their skin like Torres, as they get older.

“It’s not contagious, nobody else can get it, there’s nothing that he can do about it, it’s genetic,” said Torres’ wife, Stephanie.

Torres says he’s disappointed that he’s being misidentified as someone who has monkeypox. He says it’s already been an ordeal throughout his life explaining his condition to others.

“I understand I look different already, but when I feel attacked, and even the notion that if I had a contagious disease I would be out helping the public carelessly possibly infecting other people, is a little hurtful.”

Torres hopes by sharing his story, it will raise awareness about NF-1, but also fight the stigma surrounding monkeypox, and encourage people to get informed about how the virus spreads and what it looks like.

“I think it’s really important for people to love one another, and help one another and support one another as opposed to putting hate on any segment of the population,” said Torres.  “Whether it’s’ because they have a disease or a perceived disease.”

More information on NF-1 can be found here.

More information on the monkeypox virus can be found here.