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Connecticut

Testing for monkeypox now available at Quest labs in Connecticut as cases rise

Testing for monkeypox is now available at Quest Diagnostics labs across Connecticut, the laboratory chain announced Wednesday.

Quest, which has nearly 100 locations in Connecticut, is among five commercial laboratory companies administering monkeypox tests distributed by the Center for Disease Control.

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The tests must be ordered by a health care provider, Quest said in a release.

“Anyone with a rash should talk to their health care provider about whether they need to get tested, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. ... People seeking testing for monkeypox must consult with their health-care provider first; they cannot separately go to a Quest lab, submit a specimen, and request testing,” the release said.

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The lab will report test results to public-health authorities to help track the outbreak.

The state Department of Public Health on Tuesday confirmed the first case of monkeypox in Connecticut on July 5, a man between the ages of 40 and 49 who lives in New Haven County. The CDC has recorded nine cases in the state, neighboring New York has 159, with 49 in Massachusetts.

The risk to Connecticut residents is considered low, Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said at the announcement of the state’s first case. But, because the United States is in the midst of an outbreak, “there will likely be additional cases in Connecticut in the weeks ahead.”

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Public health officials recommend people be aware of the symptoms of the disease and how it is transmitted.

“Monkeypox can spread through close prolonged contact with an infected person,” Juthani said. “This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.”

Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, swollen glands, and a new rash but can also be minimal.

The CDC has also distributed vaccines to providers across the U.S. to combat the viral disease, so named because it was first identified in laboratory monkeys in the 1950s. The vaccines are being administered by health-care providers to those who are exposed or are considered high-risk for contracting the disease.

Closely related to the smallpox virus, monkeypox has spread predominantly among gay and bisexual men.

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“One thought is that it can be sexually transmitted, but I strongly doubt that,” Dr. Scott Roberts, associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Hospital, has said. “My thinking is it is transmitted during sexual activity simply because of the close proximity to someone who is infected.”

Information on monkeypox from the CDC is available at cdc.gov/monkeypox.


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