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Monkeypox has a new name MPV, but that doesn’t mean it is any less infectious. Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) says that it is actively monitoring for cases of MPV and says it is prepared to respond quickly and appropriately if there is a positive case in Chaffee County.

As of August 16, 155 positive cases have been confirmed in Colorado, but no positive cases in residents have been reported in Chaffee County.

“At this time, the risk to the general public still remains low.  Yet after more than two years of a COVID-19 pandemic, the public health system is aware of our need to respond to emerging diseases quickly and effectively,” said  Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom.  “MPV is a very different virus than COVID-19 and it’s important to realize that whatever the trajectory of MPV, it’s extremely unlikely to affect us like the COVID-19 pandemic did.”

The type of MPV spreading in the United States is rarely deadly and has a fatality rate of less than one percent. Most cases will resolve on their own. Symptoms of MPV may begin with flu-like symptoms that can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. Typically, a rash or skin bumps develop within one to three days after the onset of fever, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body.

In some cases, symptoms have not come before the rash or bumps.  The incubation period for MPV is usually seven to 14 days but can range from less than five days to 21 days.  Most people recover within two to four weeks.

Tanya Wait, Chaffee County Public Health nurse stands ready at the brand new health trailer that is being moved throughout the county. Merrell Bergin photo

Anyone with MPV-like symptoms, especially those who participate in high-risk activities, should contact a health care provider and stay home and isolate until they find out if they have MPV. The Chaffee County healthcare system is prepared to test eligible patients for MPV.

Some people who have been recently exposed to MPV, or individuals who are at a high risk of exposure, should get a vaccine called JYNNEOS. The FDA has fully approved this vaccine. Colorado currently has a limited supply of the vaccine from the federal government, however, doses are available to those who need vaccination.

CCPH is approved to administer the vaccine for MPV but will not receive the physical vaccine until there is a confirmed positive case in a Chaffee County resident. Until that time, individuals who qualify for a vaccination should seek one out at various locations along the Front Range.

The COVID-19 vaccine bus may also begin to give MPV vaccinations (it does not yet), and if that happens, CCPH will try to ensure that it is available in Chaffee County. A list of current vaccine resources is available at the end of this story.

While MPV can spread to anyone, currently the following criteria make an individual eligible for vaccination.

  • Anyone aged 18 years and older who has had close physical contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 14 days.
  • Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender, non-binary, or gender-diverse people aged 18 years and older who:
    • Have had multiple sexual partners in the last 14 days, or
    • Have had sexual partners they did not previously know in the last 14 days, or
    • Have had close physical contact with other people in a venue where anonymous or group sex may occur.
  • Anyone identified by public health as a known high-risk contact of someone who has monkeypox.

“However, it’s still important for the general public to be aware of what’s going on and for those who are at the highest risk to understand the steps they need to take to protect themselves,” said Carlstrom. “There is nothing inherent to our sexual orientations or gender identities that put us at higher risk for getting MPV. However, MPV is spreading throughout our state, so we need to know how to take precautions and when to seek medical care,”

MPV Vaccination Locations  
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Denver area)
El Paso County Public Health (Colorado Springs)
Jefferson County Public Health (Denver area)
Tri-County Public Health (multiple locations in Denver area)