The first suspected case of smallpox has been identified in Colorado. What you need to know.

DENVER – Colorado health officials on Thursday identified the first suspected case of monkey disease, but they reassured the public that the risk of contracting the latest disease remains a major news item around the world.

This work is presumed because it is awaiting approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The case concerns a young man who turned to Denver Health for help and became infected during a recent trip to Canada, where he is one of more than a dozen countries currently experiencing the outbreak.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) said the man was isolated at home and his condition was improving.

There are currently no other suspected positive cases of smallpox in Colorado, the CDPHE said in a press release on Thursday.

“Anyone who has been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed or suspected of having smallpox can be infected with smallpox, but people who have recently visited a country where smallpox is registered or who have had sex with other men are at higher risk. impact, ”state health officials said.

The CDPHE said Colorado residents can help prevent the spread of smallpox by avoiding close physical contact with people with smallpox, wearing high-quality masks if they spend time in close contact with someone who has symptoms of smallpox, and contacting health facilities. Provider as soon as possible if symptoms are observed.

“We want to reassure Colorado residents that there is less risk to the community, but we want them to know about the symptoms so that we can catch other cases as soon as possible,” the doctor said. Rachel Hurley, CDPHE State Epidemiologist.

Although monkeys are rare in the United States, people who travel internationally or come into contact with animals in areas where the disease is prevalent, CDPHE said.

In 2021, for example, there were two cases of smallpox in the United States on an international trip, and in 2003, there were 47 cases of smallpox in six states involving small mammals from Ghana.

None of these epidemics covered Colorado.

What is ape monkey?

Smallpox is caused by an infection with a virus that causes smallpox-like (but less severe) disease, according to Harvard Health. Severe pneumonia, vision loss due to eye infections, and sepsis can be life-threatening infections.

To date, the disease – first discovered in 1958 – has been concentrated mainly in Africa, but epidemics are currently being reported in Europe, with other cases occurring in more than a dozen countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia and some northern regions.

Health officials are investigating why this major epidemic is occurring because people with the disease often did not go to or where the virus was found and had no contact with infected animals. In addition, human-to-human transmission is higher than in previous epidemics, they said.

There are two known types of monkey smallpox – the West African strain (1% mortality) and the Congo basin strain (10% mortality). According to health experts, the current epidemic outside Africa is caused by a strain of West Africa.

About 5% of monkeys die from smallpox.

What are the symptoms of monkey smallpox?

Symptoms The monkey smallpox is similar to smallpox, but less severe, according to the CDC.

The disease begins with fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. A person with smallpox also suffers from back pain, swollen lymph nodes, and chills.

The incubation period for monkey pox usually lasts from a week to 14 days, but symptoms can occur from 5 to 21 days, according to the CDC.

The CDC has a useful guide here to help diagnose monkey smallpox infection.

What physical signs should you pay attention to?

According to health officials, it can take a day or three (sometimes longer) after a fever develops on the face of an infected person and spreads to other parts of the body, including the palms. hands, feet and lastly the genital area.

“People are most contagious when they have rashes,” he said. Michelle Barron, Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention at UCHealth University, Colorado Hospital. “If you come in contact with these rashes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you get an infection, but your risk is highest when the vesicles are there until they rupture and completely collapse.”

Harvard Health says that rashes change from small flat spots to small blisters (called vesicles) that look like smallpox and then turn into large blisters filled with pus. The symptoms can go away in a few weeks, health officials say, but once that happens, the person is not infected.

The illness usually lasts two to four weeks.

How do monkeys spread smallpox?

People in areas where monkeys are infected are more likely to be bitten or scratched by sick rodents and small mammals, in preparation for wild hunting, or in contact with infected animal or animal products, health officials say.

Monkeys are not always present in animals living in the United States, the CDC states.

The virus can also be transmitted from person to person through large droplets in the respiratory tract (although this requires prolonged face-to-face contact, so it is not a bad idea to continue wearing the N95 respirator or its equivalents) and through intimate contact such as subsequent sleep. By going to someone, or sexual activity, where there may be a long-term fluid exchange between two or more people.

Walking next to someone on the street could not spread the virus, Barron said.

MORE: Colorado is providing KN95 and surgical masks for free. Here’s where to get them

Other ways that the virus can be spread from person to person include direct contact with body fluids or broken wounds and passing through contaminated clothing or linen.

All of this is not bad news, as smallpox can spread as soon as symptoms begin, and SARS-CoV-2 – the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 – can spread asymptotically.

Is there a monkey vaccine? Can it be treated?

Although the U.S. monkey vaccination program ended in the 1970s, the U.S. government maintains a stockpile of the vaccine in the event of a widespread epidemic.

However, there are two prophylactic vaccines and three potential antiviral treatments that can be used for orthopoxia – a family of viruses that contain smallpox, reports CNN.

ACAM200 and JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) are two licensed vaccines in the United States for the prevention of smallpox. JYNNEOS is also specially licensed to prevent smallpox, according to the CDC, and has an 85% effectiveness against the disease.

JYNNEOS used a live version of the smallpox virus, which was designed to prevent the spread or development of infection in the body, but can still activate the immune response to protect against the smallpox and monkey virus. According to TIME, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019.

“Currently, there is no specific treatment for smallpox in monkeys, but the spread of smallpox in monkeys can be controlled,” the CDC said on its website.

Antiviruses that may be effective against FDA-approved monkey smallpox include cidofovir, briincidofovir, and tecovirimat.

The CDC states on its website that the risk of smallpox is higher than that of smallpox or smallpox vaccine. Based on past experience, the CDC writes, “It is estimated that 1 in 2 of every 1 million people vaccinated will die as a result of life-threatening complications from the vaccine.”

What should you do if you think you’ve been in contact with a person with smallpox?

According to Barron, if people think they have been in contact with someone who has a smallpox, the first thing to do is to examine the skin thoroughly.

You may also want to see a doctor if you have a rash that looks like this.

“The most important thing, once again, is to be aware of this (disease),” Barron said. “If you see this rash and you don’t know what it is, you want to check it out, pay attention, and check on someone.”

Gov. Police said the state was asking the federal government for vaccines Thursday afternoon after the first suspected case of the disease was identified.

“As our state-of-the-art teams detect the first suspected case of smallpox in Colorado, we look forward to learning more about the virus and how it was transmitted,” the police said in a statement. “Currently, the risk to the community remains low and data show that although this disease is serious, it does not lead to death for people with healthy immune systems.”

Smallpox has been reported in Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia and New York. As of Thursday, nine more cases of the virus had been detected in the United States and more than 300 worldwide.

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