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LACMA-Blog | LAC DPH Health Update: Monkeypox Updates and Supply

Collection of specimens

Dry swabs are required for poxvirus PCR testing. Paired sets of swab specimens are required for testing because confirmation by monkeypox-specific PCR and clade differentiation is performed as a send-to-CDC test. The swab used must be made of flocked or spun synthetic material. A dry sterile screw-cap tube or dry sterile cup (eg, urine specimen container) should be used for transporting the swab. Do not place swabs in any type of transport holder.

Providers should review their facility’s supplies to ensure the appropriate swabs are available.

Specimen collection involves vigorous and firm swabbing of lesions (vesicular, pustular, or crusted) for fluid or pus with matched sets of DRY synthetic swabs. Additionally, scabs or scabs can be removed for collection and placed in a dry, sterile container.

Swabs and scab/scab samples should be stored in the refrigerator and ideally frozen within one hour.

Decisions and approval for testing will be made in consultation with the local health department. A consultation is required prior to sample submission to discuss relevant medical information (e.g. date rash onset, type of rash, symptoms, date of smallpox vaccination, if applicable) , exhibition history and need for photos. Additional details regarding specimen collection and transportation coordination will be provided when the suspected case is reported. Specimens received at the Public Health Laboratory without approval from a medical epidemiologist will not be tested.