Cases of monkeypox are on the rise in US cities, including New York, but experts say local health departments are unable to keep up with the high demand for tests.
The Biden administration announced this week that virus tests will be shipped to commercial labs in an attempt to expand testing and speed up diagnosis as confirmed cases across the country 152 as of Wednesdayaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But those labs won’t be ready to test for monkeypox until July, leaving 67 labs in 48 states with a throughput of just 8,000 nationwide tests per week.
“What I’ve heard from a number of gay health people who have friends and friends of friends who have told a lot of stories about people who tried to get tested and failed,” Cornell University epidemiologist Dr. This was reported by Jay Varma to The Post.
Varma, who helped develop strategies for COVID mitigation and vaccine deployment in the Big Apple, shared his frustration on Twitter.
“It’s incredible that @CDCgov repeat the same #COVID-19 errors with #monkeypox: 1/ duly warned by events in Europe, 2/ still underestimating transmission, 3/ testing to make sure it rarely happens,” he wrote. “The first rule of dealing with an outbreak is to react first… or fall behind and not catch up.”
Dean Bloomberg, head of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis, said he thought the response to monkeypox was better than COVID-19, but more testing is still needed so contacts can be traced and spread limited. .
“Once you do contact tracing, once you find people who are at risk, you can have a very low threshold for testing and you can make sure people can be educated in a way that they can limit transmission to others. Bloomberg said. Mail.
In New York City, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene can only run 20 tests a day, officials said. Authorities have identified 30 probable cases as of Thursday, more than a dozen in the past two weeks, but officials cannot say how many New Yorkers fail the necessary testing to confirm a diagnosis.
Major city centers have reported only a handful of test locations, local officials said: just one in Philadelphia, which has two confirmed cases, and three in Chicago, which has 23 cases, including 19 in the past two weeks.
Monkeypox can infect anyone, but a number of cases in the US and Europe have been found in gay men, prompting health officials to push for community awareness even though tests are still scarce and only people who meet strict criteria. such as the presence of lesions may even be tested.
One New Yorker who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity said he spent a whole week trying to get tested for the new virus and then had to wait three days to find out he tested positive.
“The providers were good, but they were held back by what was written in [CDC] guidelines,” the patient told The Post. “The testing guidelines are very strict. At some point, the possibility of cancer was floated carelessly. I thought, well, I don’t think cancer pops up overnight in multiple places.”
At first, he had no lesions, but he claimed that doctors at one of the city’s large university emergency rooms still refused to test him when the painful lesions appeared on Saturday. In the end, he was tested on Monday, and the results did not come until Thursday, he said.
A health ministry spokesman denied that anyone with signs of a lesion or rash was denied testing, but could not say how many people were denied testing. Several city health departments declined to provide testing data and referred questions about capacity to the CDC.
The New York City Department of Health unexpectedly made the JYNNEOS vaccine available to adult men who have had sex with other men or “multiple anonymous sexual partners” in the past two weeks. But website for enrollment revealed that there were no vacancies, and after news of the vaccine spread by word of mouth, dozens lined up at the only location in Chelsea offering the vaccine.
According to social media posts, the wait reached two hours, and officials had to turn away those who didn’t sign up.
There were no appointments until Monday, according to a health department statement released Thursday.
“The demand we’re seeing today is further proof of how active the LGBTQ+ community — and all New Yorkers — are about their health and seeking medical care,” the statement said.
“We hope to have more meetings soon. We are in talks with the CDC to get more doses and are looking into how we can increase our capacity across the city.”
With mail wires