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Monkeypox outbreak: Cases climb to 180 in Florida; federal health officials expand testing through labs


The federal government on Monday expanded testing capacity for the monkeypox virus through another large commercial laboratory, as Florida cases of the rare disease that can cause a characteristic rash and other symptoms continue to increase.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been shipping its orthopoxvirus tests to major commercial laboratories across the nation. The federal health department has been providing vaccines to states as part of the Biden administration’s plan to tackle the 2022 monkeypox outbreak.

The latest lab offering testing is Sonic Healthcare USA, which offers the CDC’s orthopoxvirus test at its laboratory in Austin, Texas, according to a CDC press release. According to CDC, “people seeking testing for monkeypox must consult with their healthcare provider first; they cannot separately go to a Sonic lab, submit a specimen, and request testing.”

CDC noted that testing capacity has increased “from 6,000 initially to up to 80,000 specimens per week” because of the commercial laboratories, such as Labcorp and Mayo Clinic.

In Florida, cases have climbed to 180 across 15 counties, with South Florida reporting the most infections, according to the latest data from the Florida Department of Health. Broward County has reported 102 and Miami-Dade has reported 42.

Nationwide, New York has seen the most monkeypox cases (489), followed by California (266) and Illinois (174), according to the latest data from the CDC. There have been 12,556 cases in 68 countries, the CDC reported, as of Monday afternoon.

CDC officials advise that anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should consult with their health care provider about whether to get tested for the disease.

Although anyone can contract the monkeypox disease, CDC officials have said the vast majority of cases have been among men who have sex with men.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has scheduled a meeting Thursday to assess whether the monkeypox disease “constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”

In an email to the Florida Phoenix last week, a state health official said that county health departments across Florida are currently offering vaccines.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

Monkeypox, Florida, Health, Florida Phoenix, How is monkeypox spread? What are the monkeypox numbers in Florida? Infectious Disease


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