Monkeypox has been endemic in parts of Africa for decades, but there isn’t fast testing for it, and detecting the virus is limited to lab analysis. Currently, only a few labs have the capacity to run tests to detect monkeypox, although this may change soon.
Diagnostics companies are racing to develop new monkeypox tests
A person who suspects having a case of monkeypox (for instance, after noticing skin lesions) should contact a doctor, who can then contact one of the labs with equipment for testing for orthopoxviruses. Experts recommend labs testing for monkeypox from swabs and lesion tissue specimens.
The test doesn’t confirm monkeypox per se, but just the presence of an orthopoxvirus. Given the current situation, the assumption is that it’s monkeypox, and the protocol is to isolate the individual for up to 21 days. Should cases rise significantly, more specific testing would be needed to confirm the virus is actually monkeypox and not one of its relatives.