US expands monkeypox testing to better track extent of outbreak

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday that it has begun shipping monkeypox tests to five commercial lab companies in an effort to improve access to testing for the disease. .

Why is this important: A lack of testing has kept public health officials in the dark about the scale of the outbreak in the United States

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 156 confirmed cases on Wednesday.
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Details: In an effort to address the issue, HHS shipped tests to commercial lab companies including Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.

  • Health care providers will be able to use these labs in early July, with testing through these companies expected to ramp up throughout the month, according to the federal agency.

What they say : “All Americans should be concerned about cases of monkeypox. Fortunately, we currently have the tools to combat and treat cases in America,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

  • “By dramatically increasing the number of testing sites across the country, we are making it possible for everyone who needs to be tested to do so.”
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The big picture: The European head of the World Health Organization has warned that the monkeypox outbreak “poses a real risk” to public health and urged countries to carry out contact tracing, testing and sequencing to identify new ones. case.

  • The WHO, which has announced plans to change the name of the virus due to concerns over racism and stigma, is expected to convene an emergency meeting on Thursday to decide whether or not the current outbreak constitutes a public health emergency.
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