On the lookout for monkeypox, CDC considers expanding test capacity

“It’s not an easy matter to shift the tests out to the states,” a CDC official said about monkeypox. “And I think we’re actively exploring what it would take.”

With the United States on the lookout for more monkeypox cases, federal health officials this week said they’re considering expanding testing networks, even as they’ve stressed the current two-step process is not delaying treatment or containment of the outbreak.

For possible monkeypox cases, swabs from the patient are sent to both a local or state lab for initial testing, and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing. The initial tests identify whether the sample is an orthopox — the genus that monkeypox belongs to — while the CDC verifies that it is in fact monkeypox. The process explains why local communities are announcing suspected cases, followed by confirmation a few days later.

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