State health officials conduct contact tracing after the recent Colorado monkeypox case

DENVER (KDVR) — FOX31 investigators are getting some new details about one of Colorado’s two monkeypox cases.

The latest case involved a man whom health officials said visited a hospital just days before his positive diagnosis.

We’re asking health officials about this as we’re hearing from an anonymous healthcare worker concerned hospitals aren’t doing enough to screen patients before they see their doctor.

FOX31’s Joshua Short is on it with what state officials are saying about these new developments.

Although the CDC and state health officials have said that both the risk of contracting monkeypox, and it becoming a fatal situation, are low. One healthcare worker we spoke with said she wants hospitals to do more to lessen the risk of possible exposure to healthcare workers, already worn thin as the result of the pandemic.

Officials with Centura Health told FOX31 that the male patient, who became the second presumed positive monkeypox case in Colorado, did visit St. Anthony hospital. However, it’s not clear if it was related to treatment for monkeypox. But not long after that visit, he did test positive.

An anonymous healthcare worker with knowledge of this specific case told the Problem Solvers numerous hospital employees may have been exposed to this patient.

Now, the tipster is upset, saying if more was done to screen incoming patients before their appointments, this exposure may not have happened.

To put it into context, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and even throughout the Ebola outbreak, some hospitals required patients to fill out forms to screen for symptoms.

On Monday, the state health department told the Problem Solvers that they do not require patients to fill out certain forms before being seen by a doctor. However, individual providers, medical clinics and hospitals may have forms that they can ask patients to complete.

Below are statements from both the state health department and Centura Health.

On Friday, May 27, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) notified St. Anthony Hospital that we provided care to a patient who is presumed positive for Monkeypox.

Leaning into our commitment to Safety First, People Always, we responded swiftly and partnered with CDPHE to complete contact tracing, reviewing and assessing the possible risk to our associates and providers.

At this time, all caregivers and providers with possible exposure have been contacted, educated on the symptoms to monitor and offered the vaccine, which is only available through the State.

-Centura Health

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment sent a communication to healthcare providers statewide advising them of the monkeypox situation. Healthcare providers who see patients with a rash that could be consistent with monkeypox, especially people with a recent travel history to a place where monkeypox has been reported, must contact CDPHE.

CDPHE will issue updates to healthcare providers as needed. CDPHE does not require that patients fill out certain forms before being seen by a healthcare provider. However, individual providers, medical clinics, and hospitals may have forms that they ask patients to complete. If someone is identified as being exposed to monkeypox, they are contacted by the health department to determine their level of exposure and their possible risk for getting monkeypox.

Depending on their level of exposure, they may be offered a vaccine that can prevent them from getting sick or asked to monitor themselves for symptoms and routinely check in with public health. CDC recommends that the vaccine be given within four days from the date of exposure in order to prevent onset of the disease. If given between four–14 days after the date of exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms of disease, but may not prevent the disease.

At this time, Colorado is using the two-dose federally-supplied Jynneos vaccine for those considered at risk. An example of a high-risk exposure would be unprotected contact between a person’s skin or mucous membranes and the skin, lesions, or bodily fluids from a person known to have active monkeypox virus in their body. The determination of risk and the need for vaccination following an exposure is made by a medical provider with consultation from state public health. People who receive the Jynneos vaccine are considered fully vaccinated after they receive both doses of the vaccine.

No vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection. It is still possible to develop monkeypox disease after getting vaccinated. The timing of vaccination following a high-risk exposure is critical to vaccine effectiveness in preventing monkeypox infection. Monkeypox is rarely deadly. The version of monkeypox spreading right now in non-endemic countries has a fatality rate of less than 1%. Monkeypox is primarily spread through close contact with a person who has acquired monkeypox. Close contact with respiratory droplets, bodily fluids, or skin lesions can lead to infection.

Close contacts may include family members, people taking care of ill patients, anyone who has shared bed linens with someone who is sick, or anyone who has had prolonged exposure to a person with monkeypox. Epidemiological data on recent cases suggest there may be a heightened risk for people who have recently traveled to a country where monkeypox has been reported or men who have sex with other men. State epidemiologists are coordinating across the state and with CDC to monitor the progression of the virus and learn more about transmission.

Coloradans should be aware of monkeypox symptoms and prevention. Monkeypox often begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. Typically, a rash develops within one to three days after 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. The associated monkeypox rash can look similar to other infections like syphilis or herpes. 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. Coloradans can help prevent the spread of monkeypox by avoiding close physical contact with individuals who have acquired monkeypox, wearing a high-quality mask if they will be spending time in close contact with someone experiencing symptoms of monkeypox, and contacting a health care provider as soon as possible if they experience symptoms.

-Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment


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