Monkeypox: Is there a test for Monkeypox and how can you get one?

NUMEROUS cases of monkeypox have been found in the UK.

Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 4:42 pm

Cases of the virus are continuing to rise in the UK and now health officials are tracing high-risk contacts to advise them to isolate themselves at home for 21 days.

According to the NHS website, the rare infection can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa.

It's also thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice, and squirrels.

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There have been numerous confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.

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But how do you detect Monkeypox and is there a PCR test to confirm results?

Here's everything you need to know:

How is monkeypox diagnosed?

As the symptoms of monkeypox are associated with other infections and health issues, to confirm a diagnosis, individuals need to be assessed by a healthcare professional and tested for monkeypox.

Anyone with an unusual rash or blisters on any part of their body, especially on their genitalia, is urged to contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health service.

It is advised that individuals should call the clinic or healthcare service ahead of their appointment so staff can carry out the necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

Is there a PCR test?

All confirmed monkeypox cases in the UK have been determined by a PCR test, much like Covid-19 cases.

The tests are specific to the organism that needs to be identified.

In reference to monkeypox, swabs are taken from skin lesions from those who are expected to have the virus.

The samples are then sent to a specialist rare and imported pathogens laboratory in Porton Down, Wiltshire, where they will then be examined to determine whether the virus is present.

Who is being offered the tests in the UK?

PCR tests are being offered to all individuals with a suspected virus rash who have been in contact with a confirmed or probable case in the last 21 days.

The tests are also being offered to those who have symptoms of the virus and are known to have been in contact with a confirmed case in the last 21 days before the onset of their symptoms.

The current guidance does not advise that tests should be offered to close contacts of confirmed cases who do not have monkeypox symptoms.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has advised high-risk individuals to isolate themselves at home for up to 21 days.

Imvanex, a smallpox vaccine, is also being offered to those who are at high risk of catching the virus.

How many cases are there in the UK?

As of Monday, May 23, the number of monkeypox cases in England is 70.

Public Health Scotland confirmed on Monday it had identified one monkeypox case, taking the total cases identified in the UK to 71.

As of 23 May, no cases have so far been identified in Wales or Northern Ireland.

Despite further cases being detected, the risk to the UK population remains low.