Monkeypox infection rates may not be accurate due to lack of testing

The low number of monkeypox tests could be obscuring the true infection rates, similar to the plunge of reported COVID-19 tests, public health experts say.

Government labs have enough supplies to test 8,000 samples each week but are operating at a 2 percent capacity, accounting for about 23 tests a day, Bloomberg reported June 16. 

While widespread vaccinations against monkeypox are unlikely, and the virus's trajectory so far isn't a repeat of the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the CDC has reported 100 confirmed monkeypox cases as of June 17. The day before, the agency reported 84 cases across 18 states and Washington, D.C.

This count may not reflect the risk, though, with only a scattering of tests performed. 

"One thing we've learned from COVID is that availability of testing is very important," Bryon Backenson, the director of communicable diseases at New York state's Department of Health, told Bloomberg.

In response to the growing number of reported cases, White House senior director for global health security and biodefense, Raj Panjabi, MD, said there has been a 45 percent increase each week in monkeypox tests, according to Bloomberg.

 

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