Biden administration steps up monkeypox testing

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The Biden administration began shipping monkeypox virus tests to commercial labs.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said it had sent the tests to five commercial lab companies.

The companies include Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.

The department said the labs would “drastically expand testing capabilities across the country, “noting that healthcare providers will be able to use them by early July.

FILE PHOTO: Two samples of suspected cases of monkeypox undergo a nucleic acid isolation process as they are tested in a microbiology lab at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, Spain, June 1, 2022.

FILE PHOTO: Two samples of suspected cases of monkeypox undergo a nucleic acid isolation process as they are tested in a microbiology lab at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, Spain, June 1, 2022.
(REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo)

WHO MEETING ON MONKEYS, A POSSIBLE GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY

Testing capabilities of the five companies will expand throughout the month, which will help officials better understand scale of the monkeypox outbreak.

“All Americans should be concerned about monkeypox cases. Fortunately, we now have the tools to fight and treat cases in America,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “By greatly increasing the number of testing sites across the country, we are empowering anyone who needs to be tested to do so.”

The extension builds on the capabilities already available in the Public Health Laboratory Response Network (LRN).

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), during the US Chamber of Commerce's Summit of the CEOs of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, USA on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), during the US Chamber of Commerce’s Summit of the CEOs of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, USA on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.
(Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“The CDC has worked with the LRN to increase the number of public health labs that can test to more than 67 labs in 48 states and the number of weekly tests available at the LRN to more than 8,000 tests per week,” HHS said in a statement. .

US MONKEYPOX: WHERE IS THE CASE NOW?

There are currently 156 confirmed cases of monkeypox and orthopoxvirus in the US, according to the CDC.

While the majority of new cases of monkeypox have been reported among gay or bisexual men, experts warn that everyone is at risk.

A section of skin tissue taken from a lesion on the skin of a monkey infected with monkeypox virus was visible at 50x magnification on the fourth day of the rash in 1968.

A section of skin tissue taken from a lesion on the skin of a monkey infected with monkeypox virus was visible at 50x magnification on the fourth day of the rash in 1968.
(CDC/Handout via REUTERS.)

Usually people become infected with the monkeypox virus by contact with skin lesions or body fluids of infected animals or humans, or by contact with materials contaminated with the virus.

Smallpox associated monkeypox has milder symptoms.

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Some of these symptoms include fever, chills, rash, and pain before lesions develop.