Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Significant Testing Capacity and Results: The Laboratory Response Network (LRN) tested 2,009 specimens for monkeypox, identifying 730 (36.3%) positive cases from 395 patients, with 159 confirmed by the CDC as monkeypox.
  2. Expansion of Testing Capabilities: LRN expanded its testing capacity significantly from 8,000 to approximately 24,000 tests per week by June 30, 2022, due to assay updates and operational enhancements.
  3. Commercial Laboratory Involvement: To increase accessibility and convenience for testing, the CDC supported five large commercial laboratories to establish NVO testing capacity, further boosting nationwide capabilities.
  4. Rapid Turnaround and Public Health Response: A median testing turnaround time of 30.7 hours enabled swift public health actions, including isolation, treatment, and vaccination, to control the outbreak effectively.
  5. Preparedness and Response Efforts Highlighted: The outbreak underscored the importance of laboratory preparedness, rapid diagnostic test development, and collaboration across public health networks to respond to emerging infectious diseases.


This MMWR Article was created prior to the conventional renaming of Monkeypox to its more standard and appropriate name, Mpox. To avoid confusion, Monkeypox is retained when writing this article, but all future works should use Mpox.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Tricia A. Aden,

Suggested Citation

Aden TA, Blevins P, York SW, et al. Rapid Diagnostic Testing for Response to the Monkeypox Outbreak — Laboratory Response Network, United States, May 17–June 30, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:904-907. DOI:


The Laboratory Response Network (LRN) played a crucial role in the United States’ response to the monkeypox outbreak by testing 2,009 specimens between May 17 and June 30, 2022, leading to the identification of 730 positive cases. This effort was part of a broader public health preparedness and response to infectious disease threats.


LRN laboratories utilized the Non-variola Orthopoxvirus Real-time PCR Primer and Probe Set (NVO assay) for testing, an assay that received FDA clearance for this purpose. The network expanded its testing capacity significantly through assay updates and operational improvements, including automated extraction and real-time PCR instrumentation.


The rapid identification and testing capabilities of the LRN, combined with the involvement of commercial laboratories, enhanced the public health response to the monkeypox outbreak. These efforts facilitated timely patient treatment and prevention strategies, showcasing the critical role of laboratory networks in managing infectious disease outbreaks.


The response to the monkeypox outbreak highlighted the effectiveness of the LRN and the importance of rapid diagnostic testing in controlling the spread of infectious diseases. It also underscored the need for ongoing preparedness, collaboration, and the expansion of laboratory capabilities to respond to future health threats.

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