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First monkeypox case confirmed in Larimer County

By: Amber McIver-Traywick | The Surveyor | July 26, 2022 | Health

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has identified and confirmed the first monkeypox case in Larimer County. CDPHE is currently investigating the case and is completing contact tracing associated with the individual. Larimer County Department of Health & Environment’s (LCDHE) will help facilitate vaccination of any individuals who have a high likelihood of having been exposed that are identified by CDPHE as part of their investigation.

Health officials are saying that the risk of monkeypox to the public still remains low. There have been 36 cases confirmed in Colorado so far according to CDPHE. As of Monday July 25 there have been 3,487 confirmed cases in the United States. The type of monkeypox currently spreading in the United States has a fatality rate of less than one percent, and most individuals recover within two to four weeks.

Monkeypox may begin with flu-like symptoms that 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, then spreading to other parts of the body. In recent cases, additional symptoms have not always occurred before the rash or bumps, if they have occurred at all.

Monkeypox spreads through close physical contact including sexual contact with someone who has the virus. Recent data suggest people who have recently traveled to a country where monkeypox has been reported or men who have sex with other men are at heightened risk. Brief interactions without physical contact are unlikely to result in transmission. To learn more about who is at higher risk of monkeypox, visit CDPHE’s website.

CDPHE states that vaccinations given within four days of exposure can help prevent illness, and vaccines administered between four and 14 days after exposure can help prevent severe illness.

According to the CDC two vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are available for preventing monkeypox infection that is also used for smallpox – JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000. In the United States, there is currently a limited supply of JYNNEOS, although more is expected in coming weeks and months. There is an ample supply of ACAM2000. However, this vaccine should not be used in people who have some health conditions, including a weakened immune system, skin conditions like atopic dermatitis/eczema, or pregnancy. There is currently no data available yet on the effectiveness of these vaccines in the current outbreak.

Anyone who believes they have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 14 days is eligible for the vaccine. Limited vaccine appointments are available to Coloradans who self-attest to their eligibility through the appointment request form. Eligible Coloradans include men aged 18 years and older who are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days.

“Monkeypox is rare, but can cause serious illness for some people. It’s important to contact a health care provider and avoid physical contact with others if you think you’ve been exposed to monkeypox or are experiencing symptoms,” says Dr. Paul Mayer, Larimer County Medical Officer.

Information about monkeypox transmission and symptoms continues to evolve and public health officials at the federal, state, and local level are closely monitoring progression of the virus to learn more. More information about monkeypox is available on CDPHE’s webpage: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/diseases-a-to-z/monkeypox

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