Private hospital offers monkeypox test for $900

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This 1997 image provided by CDC, shows the right arm and torso of a patient, whose skin displayed a number of lesions due to what had been an active case of monkeypox. –

St Augustine Medical Laboratory is now offering monkeypox testing for $900.

In an announcement on Facebook on Friday, the lab said RT-PCR tests were available with same day results.

“Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the preferred laboratory test given its accuracy and sensitivity. For this, optimal diagnostic samples for monkeypox are from skin lesions… Lesion samples must be stored in a dry, sterile tube (viral transport media) and kept cold.”

Over 7,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in 58 countries, with new African countries seeing cases outside the normal endemic areas.

Close to TT, Venezuela detected its first case on June 12, and Jamaica confirmed its first case of monkeypox on July 5.

On Wednesday, at the Ministry of Health press conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the World Health Organization will be reconvening its expert panel on or before July 18.

Given the rate of spread of monkeypox, an emergency committee is expected to determine if a public health emergency of international concern is warranted.

He said the Health Ministry is still in talks with the Pan-American Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control to acquire supplies of the vaccine for TT.

The PAHO website states, “WHO is working to improve access to a vaccine that was developed for smallpox (MVA-BN, also known as Imvamune, Imvanex, or Jynneos) which was approved in 2019 for use in preventing monkeypox and is not yet widely available.”

It said mass vaccination against monkeypox was not required nor recommended. Instead, it recommends vaccination should only be offered to close contacts of confirmed cases.

It added that every effort should be made to control person-to-person spread through early case detection and diagnosis, isolation, and contact tracing.

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