U.S. health officials are working to expand capabilities to test for monkeypox beyond a narrow group of public health labs, heeding calls from infectious disease experts who say testing for the virus needs to become part of routine care.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a conference call on Friday that her agency is working with the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand testing capacity to include commercial laboratories.
The CDC did not respond to a request for further details.
Currently, preliminary monkeypox testing in the United States is done through a network of 69 public health laboratories, which send results to the CDC for confirmation.
There have been 45 confirmed monkeypox cases in 16 U.S. states so far, with the bulk of the current outbreak outside of Africa, where the virus is endemic, occurring in Europe.
The United States has conducted roughly 300 monkeypox tests. While testing for the virus rose by 45% last week, that needs to increase dramatically if the outbreak is to be contained, infectious disease experts said.