Colorado health department to publish weekly monkeypox data through online dashboard

Filed in BY Sara Wilson, Colorado Newsline

August 18, 2022
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This digitally-colorized electron microscopic image depicted monkeypox virus particles, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. It was a thin section image from of a human skin sample. On the left were mature, oval-shaped virus particles, and on the right were the crescents, and spherical particles of immature virions. (CDC/Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery, Hannah Bullock)
This digitally-colorized electron microscopic image depicted monkeypox virus particles, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. It was a thin section image from of a human skin sample. On the left were mature, oval-shaped virus particles, and on the right were the crescents, and spherical particles of immature virions. (CDC/Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery, Hannah Bullock)

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is now sharing additional monkeypox data online in a format similar to its COVID-19 dashboard.

The data, which will be updated on a weekly basis, includes county case numbers, statewide demographic data and a chart that shows the overall trend of cases in the state.

There have been 168 cases in Colorado so far, and state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said there was a “steady” increase in cases through July.

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The state will report county case counts using a data suppression policy to protect patient privacy. If there are zero cases, the case count will reflect that. If there are between one and three cases, the case count will show as less than or equal to three. The exact number of cases will only be displayed if it is greater than four.

“The reason for this approach is to protect individual privacy, especially among some of our smaller counties. When there are case counts of one or two, there is the potential for individuals to be identified. Protecting privacy and increasing trust is important to us,” Herlihy said.

Denver County has the most known cases with 59, followed by 22 in Adams County, 16 in Arapahoe County, 12 in Jefferson County and 10 in El Paso County.

For state-level data, the dashboard displays summary statistics related to age, race, gender, sexual orientation and hospitalization status.

About 85% of the Colorado monkeypox cases have been cisgender men and about 66% of the total patients identify as gay or lesbian. There are missing statistics for gender and sexual orientation demographics, however, as it involves direct patient contact and a willingness for the patient to disclose information.

There is an increased risk of contracting monkeypox among men who have sex with other men, Herlihy said.

There has also been an overrepresentation of Hispanic and Black patients with monkeypox. While Colorado is 4.1% Black, 11.9% of monkeypox patients in the state are Black.

The average age of monkeypox patients is around 35, Herlihy said, and there have been no pediatric cases in the state so far.

Scott Bookman, the division director of Disease Control and Public Health Response within CDPHE, said the state is still building its infrastructure to administer future doses of the monkeypox vaccine. So far, there are 59 vaccine providers across the state who have received 3,546 vaccine doses. To date, 4,328 doses have been administered throughout the state.

“We are doing a lot of work to partner with community organizations to promote public health clinics and other standalone community clinics to ensure those who need this vaccine are aware of it and know how to get it,” Bookman said.

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Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

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