The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed a positive case of monkeypox in Routt County, though local and state officials say the risk to the public remains low.
According to Routt County Public Health, the state health department is investigating the positive case and completing contact tracing associated with it.
In a Thursday, July 14 news release, Routt County Public Health explained that the local agency’s primary role is to vaccinate any state-confirmed high-risk exposures. Additionally, Colorado received vaccines from the federal government.
“Monkeypox has recently spread to parts of the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia,” Roberta Smith, Routt County Public Health Director, said in the news release. “It is endemic in central and western Africa. Currently, this is the first significant outbreak in the United States and has therefore attracted national public interest.
Smith went on to say the confirmed case in Routt County should be no cause for alarm.
“In general, monkeypox poses a low risk to the public,” Smith said, adding that the health department’s job is to provide information to the public about any health issues.
“We want to make sure our community knows where to find information and who to contact if needed,” she said.
According to Smith, CDPHE is the best source of information, and there is a link on the county’s website to CDPHE.Colorado.gov/Monkeypox.
According to the state, Monkeypox often begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. Anyone with symptoms is urged to self-isolate and contact their health care provider
Other signs to look out for are a rash that develops one to three days after the fever starts, often starting on the face and spreading to other parts of the body. In recent cases, the rash often begins in the genital or perianal area.
The incubation period for monkeypox is usually seven to 14 days, but can range from less than five to 21 days. Most people recover in two to four weeks.
Coloradans can help prevent the spread of monkeypox by avoiding close physical contact with people who have contracted monkeypox, wearing a high-quality mask if they must spend time in close contact with someone with symptoms, and contacting a health care provider as soon as possible. as possible if they experience symptoms themselves.
Monkeypox is spread primarily through close contact and typically requires skin-to-skin contact with a sick person’s sores, rashes, or skin bumps, according to the state health department.
The CDPHE says transmission through respiratory droplets is possible, but experts believe it takes hours of close contact, unlike COVID-19, which can be transmitted within minutes.
Close contacts can include family members, people caring for sick patients, anyone who has shared bed linens with someone who is sick, or anyone who has had prolonged exposure to someone with monkeypox.
State epidemiologists are coordinating across the state and with the Centers for Disease Control to monitor the progress of the virus and learn more about transmission.
Additionally, there is a fully FDA-approved vaccine available in two doses, with the doses given four weeks apart.
The vaccine can help prevent people from getting sick if they receive it within four days of exposure to the monkeypox virus. If they receive the vaccine between four and 14 days after exposure, it may help prevent serious illness, but may not completely prevent infection.
High-risk eligible Coloradans must request an appointment onlinewhich will include a symptom screening process where Coloradans can self-certify their eligibility and receive a follow-up confirmation email to schedule a vaccine appointment.
People who cannot be vaccinated with CDPHE and who suspect or know they have been exposed to monkeypox should contact a health care provider as soon as possible.
To learn more, visit cdphe.colorado.gov/monkeypoxemail [email protected] or call 970-870-5341.