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2nd presumptive case of monkeypox detected in Colorado

CDPHE said the patient was a close contact of the first person in Colorado to have a presumptive case.

DENVER — State health officials announced Colorado's second presumptive case of monkeypox on Friday.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said the young man was a close contact of the first person in Colorado with a presumptive case. 

Colorado's first presumptive case of monkeypox was announced Thursday.

CDPHE said in a release that the second patient was cooperating with state and local epidemiologists who were investigating and notifying people who might have been exposed.

The man sought care in the Denver area and was improving and isolating at home, a news release says.

The case still needs to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“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,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist for CDPHE. “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.”

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion, according to CDPHE. A rash typically develops within one to three days of the onset of fever, often beginning on the face and spreading to other parts of the body.

In recent cases, the rash often starts in the genital or perianal area, CDPHE said. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually seven to 14 days but can range from less than five to 21 days. Most people recover within two to four weeks. 

People can help prevent the spread of monkeypox by avoiding close physical contact with people who have contracted it, wearing a high-quality mask if they will be spending time in close contact with someone experiencing monkeypox symptoms and contacting a health care provider as soon as possible if they experience symptoms, CDPHE said.

Two vaccines are available for the prevention of monkeypox, according to CDPHE. Colorado has requested those vaccines from the federal government and they were expected to arrive in the state Friday, Herlihy said.

"It's an important way to lessen severity or prevent infection," she said of the vaccine.

"It certainly needs to be given quickly," she said. "That’s an important message. So in individuals that know they have been exposed, [they] really should seek health care promptly so we can try and support them in getting vaccine to them to prevent infection or at least decrease severity of that infection."

 Anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious is at risk, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but some cases have been identified through sexual health clinics in communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

However, WHO said the risk of monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men. 

"It is not a sexually transmitted disease, specifically," Herlihy said. "It is transmitted primarily through close contact. And sexual contact certainly can be close contact."

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