'Testing Bottleneck' for Monkeypox Puts Hope of Containment at Risk, Experts Warn
Experts warn the United States' approach to monkeypox testing could cause delays in curbing the outbreak of the disease. At present, if a medical worker believes a patient has monkeypox, someone has to contact the state health department and send a swab from the patient to a facility in the Laboratory Response Network, which was formed to test for biological or chemical threats. These laboratories can determine if the sample is positive for an orthopoxvirus, a genus that includes monkeypox and smallpox. The overall testing capacity for orthopox through this network is nearly 7,000 tests per week at 74 labs in 46 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Boghuma Titanji, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Emory University, says: "Every single day that we're not fixing the testing bottleneck, every single day that we're not getting on top of getting the information out to the networks that need to be aware of this, is time that we are losing in terms of that window closing on containment." She believes the U.S. case count does not accurately reflect transmission rates. Meanwhile, emerging reports from national public health agencies have revealed that some monkeypox cases differ from earlier patterns of illness described in medical literature. For instance, some individuals develop a rash before they experience systemic symptoms such malaise and fever.
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