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Friday, June 24, 2022

Monkeypox is not common in Colorado, but the state asks the public to watch for symptoms

Monkeypox is not common in Colorado, but the state health department is asking the public to monitor symptoms and answer the phone if health officials call to alert you to a potential infection.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment reported two suspected cases of monkeypox in May and three in June. All of these people have either traveled to countries where monkeypox is spreading more widely or have been in close contact with someone who has, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Wednesday. While the virus does not appear to be spreading significantly in Colorado, public health leaders want to stop it before it takes root in people or animals.

“We want people to be informed about the signs and symptoms of monkeypox,” she said. “The goal is to prevent the next generation of cases.”

Brief interactions without physical contact are unlikely to spread monkeypox, Herlihy said. High-risk exposure includes skin-to-skin contact or cohabitation with an infected person, and handling items such as towels and sheets used by someone with a monkeypox rash. The majority of people infected in the current outbreak are men who have sex with men.

None of the people suspected of having monkeypox in Colorado were hospitalized or died, Herlihy said. A “handful” of people have been hospitalized in other states, she said, and the death rate from this version of the virus is less than 1%.

Monkeypox typically causes flu-like symptoms and a rash that can resemble pimples, Herlihy said. The rash can appear anywhere on the body, although people infected during the current outbreak are more likely to report it in the genital or anal area.

People who notice an unusual rash or think they may have been exposed should talk to their healthcare provider, Herlihy said. Typically, symptoms resolve without treatment, although an infected person should be isolated from people and pets until that happens, she said.

World Nation News Desk
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