US has 142 monkeypox cases, boosts testing

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The U.S. government is shipping monkeypox test kits to commercial labs in an effort to expedite diagnoses of suspected cases of the virus that have already infected at least 142 people in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending tests to labs in an effort to dramatically expand the health system’s ability to test for monkeypox.

Previously, testing was largely confined to public health labs, which nationwide have a capacity of about 8,000 tests per week.

“All Americans should be concerned about cases of monkeypox,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

“By dramatically increasing the number of testing sites across the country, we are making it possible for anyone who needs to be tested to do so.”

The disease 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.

Medical experts are concerned as this year 1880 infections have been reported in more than 30 countries where monkeypox is not usually present.

Most of those cases have been in Europe, with the CDC confirming 142 monkeypox infections in the United States as of June 21.

Monkeypox belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox.

Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the disease can be fatal for up to one in 10 people, according to the World Health Organization.

– PAA

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