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Monkeypox Testing Availability Opens Up

The CDC announces both the Mayo Clinic and Labcorp begin testing for the virus.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 866 monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases across 39 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as of yesterday. New York state has the most confirmed cases with 156, followed by California with 148 and then Illinois with 122. There are several states with 20 more more cases and multiple states with single digits.

To answer the need for testing, CDC has announced that both the Mayo Clinic Laboratories and the diagnostic company, Labcorp, will begin testing for monkeypox using CDC’s orthopoxvirus test, which detects most non-smallpox related orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox.

The Mayo Clinic’s Division of Clinical Microbiology laboratories will accept specimens from anywhere in the United States. Their labs expect to be able to perform up to 10,000 tests per week, which will continue to increase the current capacity provided through CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN) and Labcorp. For Labcorp, they also expect to be able to perform up to 10,000 tests per week.

Back on June 22, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 5 commercial laboratory companies would soon begin offering monkeypox testing. Since then, CDC shipped the tests to the laboratories and their employees have been trained on their administration, among other steps.

“The ability of commercial laboratories to test for monkeypox is an important pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH said in a statement. “This will not only increase testing capacity but also make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-laboratory networks.”

Two weeks ago, CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to monitor and coordinate the emergency response to monkeypox and mobilize additional CDC personnel and resources. CDC’s activation of the EOC allows the federal agency to increase operational support for the response to meet the outbreak’s evolving challenges. It is home to more than 300 CDC staff working in collaboration with local, national, and international response partners on public health challenges. The activation of the EOC will serve to further supplement the ongoing work of CDC staff to respond to this outbreak.

According to CDC, early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of monkeypox cases, and the agency continues to provide guidance and raise awareness among frontline healthcare providers and public health.