LANSING, Mich. – Sparrow is the first health system in Michigan to create its own in-house monkeypox testing.
The goal is to speed up monkeypox test results for patients and get them the care they need. Sparrow Laboratories developed the testing process and started using it within the last week.
The tests are only available for Sparrow inpatients and outpatients who have been referred for testing by their doctor. Results are analyzed on-site and are available within 24 hours.
Paul Entler, D.O., Chief Clinical Officer for Sparrow Health System said the timing of the new test is an important way to tackle increasing monkeypox cases.
“Being able to have your own test is important,” Dr. Entler said. “Time is of the essence when we’re trying to reduce 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 as more testing is available, we’ll see more cases. Hence, why it’s important to understand the signs of symptoms of monkeypox.”
The test works by checking if the patient has a virus in the orthopox family -- which includes smallpox and monkeypox -- if it’s positive more testing is performed to determine if it’s monkeypox and find which strain.
Symptoms of monkeypox include a noticeable rash, fever, headaches, muscle aches, exhaustion and chills, among others.
“Why the testing and turnaround is so important is that we want to get within that window of zero to four days to vaccinate those who have had high-risk exposure,” Entler said. “Typically there is an incubation time and symptoms start at typically five to 21 (days), so the ability to turn around the test is going to be critical to control monkeypox.”