LANSING, Mich. – Sparrow is the first health system in Michigan to create its own in-house monkey pox testing.
The goal is to speed up monkeypox test results for patients and get them the care they need. Sparrow Laboratories developed the test process and began using it within the last week.
The tests are only available to Sparrow inpatients and outpatients who have been referred for testing by their physician. Results are analyzed on the spot and available within 24 hours.
Paul Entler, DO, Chief Clinical Officer for Sparrow Health System said the timing of the new test is an important way to address the growing cases of monkeypox.
“Being able to get your test done is important,” said Dr. Entler. “Time is of the essence when we are trying to reduce the further spread of the disease. Just a few weeks ago there were only six cases in the state, now there are over 70, and I imagine that with more testing available, we will see more cases. Hence why it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of monkeypox.”
The test works by checking whether the patient has a virus in the orthopox family – which includes smallpox and monkeypox – if it’s positive, more tests are done to determine if it’s monkeypox and find out which type.
Symptoms of monkeypox include a noticeable rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and chills, among others.
“Why testing and switching is so important is that we want to get within that zero-to-four-day window to vaccinate those who have had high-risk exposure,” Entler said. “Typically there is an incubation time and symptoms usually start between five and 21 (days), so the ability to reverse engineer that will be critical to controlling monkeypox.”
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