Colorado officials are probing a suspected case of monkeypox in a ‘young’ gay or bisexual man who has recently returned from Canada — with the state becoming the eighth to report a presumptive case of the virus.
Local health chiefs revealed late Thursday that the individual came to a clinic in the Denver area — the state’s biggest city — suffering symptoms of the virus.
The patient — who has not been named — is now isolating at home and contact tracing is underway. The risk the virus has spread to others is believed to be ‘low’.
It brings the U.S. monkeypox tally to ten cases across eight states, amid warnings that the virus may now be spreading within America’s borders.
The vast majority of infections are in gay and bisexual men, and most are thought to be linked to international travel.
Experts in Europe — where most cases are being detected — say the outbreak there may have been sparked by unsafe sex at two mass gatherings in Spain and Belgium.
Globally, more than 300 cases have been detected across more than a two dozen countries.
Colorado today became the eighth state to report a case of monkeypox, as the tally of confirmed and suspected infections rises to double-digits
Dr Rachel Herlihy, the Colorado’s top epidemiologist, said: ‘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.
‘We are grateful for the collaborative efforts of [health chiefs] in learning about, treating and investigating this case.’
Pet hamsters could be culled to stop monkeypox spreading in Europe
Pets could be culled to protect from monkeypox under ‘last resort’ guidelines drawn up by health officials.
A cull could be ordered for hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs if they are unable to be isolated, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) admitted.
Rodents have been identified as carrier of the disease in west and central Africa.
The ECDC said it is ‘theoretically possible’ that people in Europe could pass on monkeypox to their domestic pets, which could then act as a reservoir and transmit it back to humans.
Swabs from the patient will now be sent to a laboratory run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for tests to confirm the infection.
It was unclear whether the case was linked to the one in Massachusetts — which had also recently returned from travel to Canada.
The agency revealed yesterday that all other cases reported had now been confirmed as monkeypox.
This includes two in Florida and Utah, and one each in California, Massachusetts, New York City, Virginia and Washington.
Canada has now reported more than 26 cases of monkeypox with every case in Quebec except one — in nearby Ontario.
Monkeypox is a rare virus typically only found in West Africa, although recently it has spread into Europe and North America.
It is mostly passed on through skin-to-skin contact with infectious lesions and rashes on patients, which can appear all over the body including the genital area.
Most cases are mild but about one in 100 lead can lead to a fatality estimates suggest.
Treatment focuses on vaccinating close contacts against smallpox, which can also spark immunity against this virus because they are closely related.
Drugs may also be administered to help reduce the symptoms.
Experts have warned for years that an outbreak of this disease was inevitable because immunity levels against smallpox had fallen substantially.
America was vaccinating everyone against this disease until the early 1970s, when the jabs had successfully beaten the virus into submission. The scheme was then abandoned across other nations.
But this has now left people less than 50 years old with little immunity to monkeypox.
It comes as a UK scientist warns monkeypox may now be endemic in the UK and Europe forever as the virus normally confined to Africa continues to spread globally.
Dr Adam Kucharski, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was unlikely the current outbreak would spiral into a pandemic like Covid because it spreads through prolonged close contact.
Health chiefs have warned monkeypox, a virus endemic in parts of Africa and is known for its rare and unusual rashes, bumps and lesions, could also spread to some pets and become endemic in Europe. Undated handout file image issued by the UK Health Security Agency of the stages of Monkeypox
But the epidemiologist, who is also a member of the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), warned the ‘biggest risk’ is that cases will ‘not be eliminated in some places’.
He said any persistent transmission increases the risk that the virus — closely related to smallpox — could be passed onto pets, meaning there will be permanent reservoirs of infection, as is the case in Africa.
EU health chiefs have already acknowledged this threat and are considering a cull for all hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs owned by monkeypox patients.
In the UK, officials are also expected to release guidance telling infected Britons to keep their distance from family pets.
Monkeypox has now been identified in all four nations of the UK, as the number of confirmed domestic cases yesterday rose to 90. A disproportionate number are among gay and bisexual men.
Twenty countries across the world have now been affected by the current outbreak, with Finland today becoming the latest to confirm an infection. Argentina, Bolivia and Sudan are all probing suspected cases.
Until now, cases outside of western and central Africa were confined to a handful of people with travel links to the