The risk of mpox to the general public is considered low by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Archuleta and La Plata County residents should be aware of how mpox spreads, how to stay safe, and the resources available for testing and vaccination.
Mpox is a virus in the orthopox family of viruses. Anyone can get and spread mpox. If you have a new or unexpected rash or sores, contact a healthcare provider. Mpox can be serious for people who get sick, especially without proper medical attention.
More information, including Colorado case data, can be found on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) website.
Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure. If you start experiencing symptoms, avoid close contact with others and talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
The most common symptoms are rashes or sores that look like pimples or blisters. These can be found all over the body or just in certain places, like the face, hands, feet, mouth, genitals, or anus. The rash and sores can be very itchy and painful and can last for two to four weeks.
Some people also have flu-like symptoms like fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, and feeling tired. These symptoms can occur before or at the same time as the rash or sores.
- Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
- Most people with mpox will get a rash.
- Some people have developed a rash before (or without) other symptoms.
- A person is contagious until all of their sores have healed and a new layer of skin has formed, which can take two to four weeks.
Most of the time, the mpox virus is spread by coming into direct contact with an infected person's rash or sores. It can also be spread by coming into contact with an infected person's clothing or bedding used while they had mpox, or by breathing droplets that can be spread by sustained face-to-face contact.
Transmission can happen through sexual contact or other close activities, such as:
- Direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- Touching objects, fabrics (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the rash or body fluids of someone with mpox
- Being scratched or bitten by an infected animal
- Mpox can be acquired by all people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Mpox often causes a rash.
- Mpox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.
Take the following steps to prevent getting mpox:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with mpox has used.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with mpox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
Testing is available with local healthcare providers. People who are experiencing symptoms of mpox or think they have been exposed to mpox should contact a healthcare provider to discuss testing.
Testing involves a provider taking a swab of a sore. You can only get tested for mpox if you are experiencing symptoms. Isolate from others while you are waiting for your test result, which can take a few days. If your healthcare provider is not able to collect a sample, you can request a referral to a provider who may be able to administer a test.