DENVER (KDVR) — The state health department has identified a presumed positive case of monkeypox in a Colorado man.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is investigating the case and 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.
“We want to reassure Coloradans that the risk to the public is low, but we also want them to know of the symptoms so that we can catch other cases as soon as possible,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, said. “We are grateful for the collaborative efforts of the CDC, local public health agencies, and health care providers in learning about, treating, and investigating this case.”
The presumed positive man sought care in the Denver area and is now improving while he’s isolated at home, the CDPHE said in a release. The release identified the man as a man who has sex with men.
Other cases have been identified in several states including Florida and California.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. It belongs to the same virus family as smallpox.
Most human cases have been in central and west Africa and outbreaks have been relatively limited.
Transmission and symptoms of the disease
According to the CDC, monkeypox is typically transmitted by a person coming into contact with the virus via another person, animal, or material that is contaminated with monkeypox viral matter.
The CDPHE said symptoms of the virus often begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. A rash often beginning on the face and spreading to other parts of the body develops within one to three days after the onset of fever, and in recent cases, the rash often starts in the genital or perianal area. The CDPHE said the rash can look similar to other infections like syphilis or herpes.
The state health department said the risk of contagion is low and that people who have recently traveled to a country where monkeypox has been reported, or men who have sex with other men, are currently at a higher risk for monkeypox exposure.
Treatment and prevention of monkeypox
Colorado has requested the two vaccines available to prevent monkeypox from the federal government. They can be used to prevent infection or decrease the severity of infection among those who have had a high-risk exposure, the CDPHE release said.