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Some lab techs refuse to take blood from possible monkeypox patients, raising concerns about stigma and testing delays

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  • Some lab techs refuse to take blood from possible monkeypox patients, raising concerns about stigma and testing delays

    Updated 2:19 PM ET, Wed August 3, 2022

    By Elizabeth Cohen and Danielle Herman

    Many technicians at Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics, two of the largest commercial labs in the US, have been refusing to draw blood from patients who might have monkeypox, CNN has learned.

    Labcorp and Quest don't dispute that in many cases, their phlebotomists are not taking blood from possible monkeypox patients. What remains unclear, after company statements and follow-ups from CNN, is whether the phlebotomists are refusing on their own to take blood or if it is the company policy that prevents them. The two testing giants say they're reviewing their safety policies and procedures for their employees.

    ... Infectious disease experts who treat monkeypox patients say that the refusals are based on stigma and slow efforts to identify and isolate patients with monkeypox at a time when the nation's health officials are coming under criticism for struggling to get the outbreak under control.

    ... Although monkeypox is diagnosed by swabbing lesions, blood tests are necessary to differentiate the virus from other types of infections, infectious disease experts say.

    ... Harvey added that it feels like the refusals are "a modern-day example of discrimination" -- a viewpoint shared by others. "This reminds me of the olden days when people didn't want to care for HIV patients," said Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University.

    ... Blood tests are necessary not only to differentiate between monkeypox and other infections but to test for other sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis, since people with monkeypox sometimes have STIs.
    If suspected monkeypox patients don't have their blood drawn, "the standard of care is not being followed," said Harvey, the director of the sexual health clinics association.

    ... Labcorp executive Dr. Brian Caveney told CNN last week that "up until now, we have typically not been doing" blood draws from suspected monkeypox patients but that the company was reviewing its policies, and this was "likely to change."

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/03/healt...sts/index.html
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