To increase monkeypox testing capacity during the U.S. outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday began shipping orthopoxvirus tests to five commercial laboratory companies: Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare. The laboratories should be available to health care providers by early July, with capacity increasing throughout the month, CDC said. Testing capacity through CDC’s Laboratory Response Network also has increased to over 8,000 tests per week since the first U.S. monkeypox case was reported in May, the agency said.
CDC encourages clinicians to consider testing all suspect rashes for monkeypox. The Food and Drug Administration is exercising enforcement discretion regarding CDC’s tests, which permits hospitals to develop their own laboratory developed tests. CDC has published an FDA-approved testing protocol for any laboratory interested in testing for monkeypox, and yesterday updated its guidance on specimen collection. Only certain laboratory personnel using specified safety protocols should perform culture-based testing for monekypox. As of June 21, 142 U.S. monkeypox cases have been reported.