First Confirmed Case of Monkeypox Identified in San Luis Valley

Researcher holding blood test tube infected with monkey pox virus (MPXV). (Image: iStock 1398984545)

On Thursday August 11, 2022, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment notified local public health officials of the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the San Luis Valley.

The individual received testing through a local healthcare provider. Risk to the general public is low at this time, but it is important to be aware and practice precautions.

Symptoms of monkeypox can resemble the flu, followed by a rash that looks like pimples or blisters. Some people experience no symptoms before the rash appears. Individuals with symptoms should call their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others. When monkeypox is confirmed, those who have had close contact with the individual will be contacted by public health and given instruction on getting Monkeypox vaccine. Monkeypox can be serious, but most cases resolve within 2-4 weeks.

“The Jynneos monkeypox vaccine can provide post-exposure protection for those who have had close contact with someone who has monkeypox. It is important for individuals with close contact who develop symptoms to call their healthcare provider to see if testing is needed. They should also avoid close contact with others since they may be in the infectious period,” said Lilian Coll, San Luis Valley Regional Epidemiologist. 

Although anyone can get monkeypox, the majority of cases have been among men who have sex with men. Individuals in this group who are age 18 and older and who have had multiple partners or partners they did not previously known within the last 14 days; or anyone age 18 and older who believes they may have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox in the past 14 days, may be eligible for free vaccine clinics hosted by CDPHE. For more information, call 1-877-462-2911 or go to cdphe.colorado.gov/diseases-a-to-z/monkeypox

Terry West
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