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Colorado Identifies First Presumptive Case of Monkeypox

As if any of us needed anything else to worry about — late Thursday afternoon, Governor Jared Polis released a statement following the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) announcement that Colorado has identified its first presumptive case of Monkeypox.

The first case of Monkeypox has been identified in Colorado. Photo by UnSplash.

“As our dedicated teams at the state have identified Colorado’s first presumptive case of Monkeypox, we look forward to getting more information on the virus and how it is transmitted to keep you informed in the days and weeks ahead,” said Governor Polis.

“At this time, the risk to the public continues to be low and the data suggests that this disease, while serious, is not typically fatal for those with healthy immune systems,” continued the Governor. Who, or where exactly in the state the case has occurred has not been released.

Scientists continue to believe that Monkeypox is primarily transmitted by close contact, which includes transmission during sex. Brief casual contact is unlikely to result in transmission. Other human-to-human ways of spreading the virus include direct contact with body fluids or broken lesions, and through contaminated clothing or linens.

CDPHE released the following information today about the spread of Monkeypox and prevention and mitigation efforts in Colorado:

How is it spread? In parts of the world where human cases of Monkeypox more commonly occur, people are typically exposed through bites or scratches from infected rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products. Monkeypox does not happen regularly in animals that live in the United States. There are two known types of monkeypox.

What is a high-risk exposure? An example of a high-risk exposure would be unprotected contact between a person’s skin or mucous membranes and the skin, lesions, or bodily fluids from a person known to have active monkeypox virus in their body. The determination of risk and the need for vaccination following an exposure is made by a medical provider with consultation from public health.

Is there a vaccine for Monkeypox? Two vaccines are available for the prevention of monkeypox, and Colorado is requesting vaccines from the federal government. The vaccines can be used to prevent infection or decrease the severity of infection among those who have had a high-risk exposure.

Where else are there Monkeypox outbreaks? Monkeypox outbreaks are currently occurring in Canada, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, and other European countries. Monkeypox is rare in the United States, but has happened in people with international travel or people who had contact with animals from areas where the disease is more common.