The US government has speeded up monkeypox testing to diagnose more cases on time. This being said, the virus has already infected at least 142 people in the U.S.
Previously, testing had largely been confined to public health labs, which combined have a capacity of about 8,000 tests per week, but now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending tests to labs, including Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, and Sonic Healthcare, thus significantly expanding the nation’s health system’s capacity to test for monkeypox.
Monkeypox comes from the same family of viruses like smallpox. Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the disease is fatal for up to 1 in 10 people, according to the World Health Organization.
In a statement announcing the testing expansion, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “Thankfully we have right now the tools to fight and treat cases in America. By dramatically expanding the number of testing locations throughout the country, we are making it possible for anyone who needs to be tested to do so.”
The disease first causes flu-like symptoms before progressing to a rash on the face and body and is commonly found in parts of central and west Africa. But this year, 1,880 infections have been reported in more than 30 countries where monkeypox isn’t typically seen.