CDPHE identifies first monkeypox case in El Paso County

El Paso County, CO – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has identified the first case of monkeypox in El Paso County. CDPHE is the lead agency on this investigation and is completing the contract tracing associated with this case. El Paso County Public Health’s role is to vaccinate any high-risk exposures identified by CDPHE as part of their investigation. 

Individual risk to the public continues to be low. Monkeypox may begin with flu-like symptoms that may include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. Typically, a rash or skin bumps develop within one to three days after the onset of fever, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. Monkeypox can look like syphilis, herpes, blisters, or even acne. Anyone can get monkeypox through close contact — which includes sexual contact — with someone who has the virus. Brief interactions without physical contact are unlikely to result in transmission. To learn more about who is at higher risk of monkeypox, visit CDPHE’s website. In recent cases, additional symptoms have not always occurred before the rash or bumps if they have occurred at all. Coloradans should contact a health care provider and avoid physical contact with others if they think they have been exposed to monkeypox or are experiencing symptoms.

The version of monkeypox spreading in the United States has a fatality rate of less than one percent. There have been 36 cases in Colorado and most cases resolve on their own within four weeks. Vaccinations given within four days of exposure can help prevent illness, and vaccines administered between four and 14 days after exposure can help prevent severe illness.

Anyone who believes they have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 14 days is eligible for the vaccine. Limited vaccine appointments are available to Coloradans who self-attest to their eligibility through the appointment request form. Eligible Coloradans include men aged 18 years and older who are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days. 

People who experience symptoms of monkeypox or think they have been exposed to monkeypox should contact a health care provider to discuss testing. Providers can now submit specimens through commercial laboratory networks.

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Michelle Beyrle
Public Health Information Officer
(cell) 719-244-1947
El Paso County, CO