Monkeypox_Virion_(colorized)_-_CDC (1).pngMpox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, part of the orthopoxvirus genus, which also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used for smallpox vaccine) and cowpox virus. Mpox was first identified in a laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958. Although the name suggests it, monkeys are not a natural reser​voir for the virus. The first human case of mpox was identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Human cases outside of Africa are primarily travel-related or associated with the import of animals.​​​

​On May 6, 2022, an outbreak of mpox was confirmed in the United Kingdom. Since then, subsequent cases have been confirmed in at least 20 countries, including the United States. US public health laboratories in the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) are capable of detecting non-variola Orthopoxvirus via polymerase chain reaction (PCR). APHL, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are working closely with these public health laboratories as the outbreak continues. 

​APHL's Role in the 2022 Mpox Response​

  • Utilize an Incident Management System for a coordinated laboratory response and to ensure public health laboratories have timely diagnostics to safely perform tests

  • Provide subject matter expertise and technical assistance to members, federal partners and sustaining members  

  • Facilitate communications among public health laboratories, epidemiologists, health officials, CDC and other partners, serving as a credible resource for the media and the public

  • Promote the value of the LRN and the role of public health laboratories in this network​

  • Utilize APHL's voice to strengthen laboratory partnerships and coordination. 

Recommendations for Health Departments​​

  • If mpox is suspected, CDC should be consulted through the CDC Emergency Operations Center (770-488-7100).

  • Appropriately collected samples can be sent to CDC or an appropriate LRN laboratory for testing by PCR.

  • LRN laboratories are able to provide orthopoxvirus testing on lesion specimens that clinicians obtain from suspected patients; confirmatory MPV-specific testing at CDC requires a dry lesion swab specimen.​​​​​​​​​​