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Colorado doctors hope for more testing, vaccines as monkeypox outbreak is declared a public health emergency

Doctors in Colorado hope for more testing, vaccines as monkeypox outbreak is declared a public healt
Doctors in Colorado hope for more testing, vaccines as monkeypox outbreak is declared a public healt 02:45

The State of Colorado hopes a federal emergency declaration on a monkeypox outbreak will mean more testing and vaccine supply will soon arrive to help keep cases low. Some health experts are concerned cases are increasing, and that doesn't account for all of the infections in the state. The state has set up this information page

"We think it is absolutely critical that everyone know about monkeypox, especially folks that might be more likely to be exposed," said Dr. Sarah Rowan, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Denver Health. "We're still dealing with scarcity and to the extent that calling this an emergency helps address the scarcity issue is very helpful." 


On Thursday, the state said it had received 9,665 doses from the federal government and much of that was turned around to be administered in local clinics like the one Rowan runs at Denver Health.    

"We vaccinated folks who have been exposed or had close physical contact with diagnosed monkeypox cases, and we've also been offering the vaccine to people who might have been exposed," she said. Denver Health has vaccinated 200 people.  

As numbers climb, officially the state has 79 total cases since May. Infection is caused by close physical contact. Symptoms include fever and feeling like the flu and most patients get a rash or bumps on their body. The state is reserving vaccine for the highest risk population which is says is, "Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men aged 18 years and older who have had multiple sexual partners, and/or sexual partners they did not previously know, in the last 14 days. Anyone aged 18 years and older who believes they have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 14 days." 

"To prevent monkeypox we need to address this as a community," Rowan said.  

"What we're really hopeful is that it just to bring more vaccine, testing resources and testing resources to Colorado," said Dr. Alexis Burakoff, a Medical Epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "We've been grabbing all the doses that we can, and we've been trying to get them in arms as quickly as we can." 

The state hopes it can get more vaccine supply and commercial labs will allow for testing to increase.  

The Tri-County Health Department announced walk-in vaccination clinics in Westminster, Castle Rock and Aurora this weekend.

"We've seen an exponential increase in the number of people wanting testing and the number of people testing positive. We at Denver Health have 47 people who have tested positive already. It's significant," said Rowan.  

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