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Some lab technicians refuse to draw blood from monkeypox patients

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Technicians at two of America’s largest commercial laboratories refuse to draw blood from suspected monkeypox patients.

CNN confirms that phlebotomists at Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics have refused to perform the standard tests needed to not only distinguish monkeypox from other STIs, but to identify the disease. .

It remains unclear whether the technicians are refusing on their own or if it is due to company policy.

“The fact that this is happening reflects the early days of HIV,” says David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. “This is a grave dereliction of duty.”

“It reminds me of the old days when people didn’t want to care for people with HIV,” says New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan.

This week, monkeypox cases in the United States surged 81% from last week, with the CDC reporting 6,326 cases as of August 2nd.

Experts say the refusal of laboratories to draw blood from patients fosters stigma and discrimination around monkeypox, discourages potentially exposed people from seeking treatment, and contributes to the spread of the outbreak. I am concerned that it may contribute to

“The fact that phlebotomists are afraid to take specimens makes it even less appealing for someone to seek monkeypox testing,” says Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF Health.

“Commercial laboratories aren’t doing the right thing and can’t delay diagnostic testing,” says Harvey.

Diane Crawford, CEO of the National Phlebotomy Association, says there’s no reason to fear drawing blood from monkeypox patients as long as technicians follow standard precautions.

In a statement, Quest spokesman Kim Goraud said the lab is following CDC guidelines that state that “patients with confirmed or suspected monkeypox infection should be isolated.” We will serve them once they are released from quarantine.”

However, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said: Taking samples for testing is a medical practice that can lead to diagnosis and treatment if necessary. “

In a subsequent email to CNN, Gorode said Quest was reassessing its guidance “in light of updates posted on the CDC site” on Monday. Another CDC spokesperson said Monday’s only update was moving the sentence to the top of the page that quarantine guidelines do not apply to healthcare settings.

Dr. Brian Caveney, Labcorp’s president of diagnostics, said the company is reviewing its policy on drawing blood from suspected monkeypox patients and that it is likely to change.

Lack of testing capacity is one factor in U.S. monkeypox outbreak On Tuesday, the White House announced that testing capacity had expanded from 6,000 to more than 80,000 per week.

Meanwhile, far-right conservatives like Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green (R-GA) have begun stigmatizing the disease with outlandish claims because it occurred among gay and bisexual men.