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Yesterday's declaration by the federal government that monkeypox is a public health emergency has been applauded by public health officials in the City of St. Louis. "Usually such declarations have meant that additional resources will be available to help with an outbreak," says Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis. "Vaccine demand for the virus has significantly outpaced current supplies and the Department of Health is hoping yesterday's declaration is a signal that more help is on the way to state and local governments."

The U.S. announcement comes almost a month after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that monkeypox is a public health emergency of international concern, an extraordinary event that constitutes a public health risk to through the international spread of disease" and "to potentially require a coordinated international response." The City of St. Louis currently has 6 reported confirmed cases. Overall in Missouri 13 confirmed cases have been reported as of August 4th.

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In Missouri, vaccine supply is severely limited and, primarily allocated for post- exposure prophylaxis. Limited vaccine supplies nationally have hampered the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services ability to get supplies to local jurisdictions, and Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis is working with regional leaders to get additional vaccine doses from the state as they become available.

At this point in the outbreak, the majority of reported cases are men having intimate contact with men, but the Department of Health continues to that anyone can catch the virus. The Department has initiated an anti-stigma social media messaging campaign and will be hosting a roundtable workshop for LGBTQ members of the community in the near future. The Department is also supplying monkeypox information in Spanish directly to partners to help local public health stakeholders assist in educating segments of the community.

Realizing that coordinated efforts are the best way to fight these types of public health issues the City of St. Louis Department of Health and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health are working on collaborative efforts to reduce the spread of the disease.

Filed Under: Government, City

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