DENVER (KDVR) — Early data says monkeypox is unlikely to become a pandemic of COVID proportions.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is investigating the case of a Colorado man with monkeypox. Test results are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
The CDPHE said the man recently traveled to Canada where an outbreak has occurred and the department is contacting those he was in contact with about possible exposure. No other presumed positive cases have been reported.
The Colorado case is one of only ten identified in the United States. Others have been found in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
Monkeypox is not a highly lethal disease. The World Health Organization estimates a case fatality ratio of between 3% and 6%, meaning between 3% and 6% of cases are fatal.
This makes monkeypox deadlier than COVID, which has an estimated case fatality ratio of 1.2%. Smallpox, in contrast, has a case fatality ratio of 30% if untreated.
Though data says monkeypox is more lethal, it is less transmissible than COVID and other infectious diseases. Researchers say the virus needs close contact to spread, rather than airborne diseases such as COVID.
Epidemiologists use a formula for “repeatability” to estimate how many people will become infected from a single case of a given disease.
Monkeypox has an estimated repeatability value of two, meaning one person will lead to another two infections in a totally unprepared environment.
Someone with the omicron strain of the COVID virus would infect another 9.5 people.