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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Monkeypox: Costa Rica has supplies for real-time diagnosis

The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) provided Costa Rica with a donation that allows real-time detection of monkeypox genetic material in different human samples.

Following the global alert on the detection of cases of monkeypox in several non-endemic countries, the Ministry of Health initiated the search for a laboratory method for the specific diagnosis of this viral infection.

As part of PAHO/WHO’s efforts to strengthen epidemiological surveillance in all member states, INCIENSA and laboratories from 8 other countries were invited to participate in a training workshop on the molecular technique (real-time PCR) of the virus that causes monkeypox.

Accordingly, an activity was held in Mexico at the end of June to review detection and diagnostic protocols in the context of preparedness and response to possible outbreaks. At the event, PAHO/WHO distributed to each participating country one commercial kit for the specific molecular detection (PCR) of smallpox and 1 set of primers and probe for the molecular detection protocol recommended by PAHO/WHO and CDC.

Thanks to this donation, Costa Rica can now carry out the tests at Inciensa, thus avoiding the need to send samples for analysis outside the country.

This specific PCR for the monkeypox virus has already been successfully tested at Inciensa’s National Virology Reference Center, making the diagnostic methodology available to national authorities and health services as required.

Furthermore, since it is the method recommended by PAHO/WHO, it is used in different regional laboratories, which facilitates the comparability of results between other laboratories and countries.

The National Virology Reference Center also has tests that allow differential diagnosis of the samples.

It is important to note that the Ministry of Health has followed up on six cases under investigation for monkeypox, which have already been ruled out.

“It is crucial for the Ministry of Health that Costa Rica has the possibility of testing for the diagnosis of monkeypox, as this will speed up the elimination of cases under investigation, reduce costs by not having to send the test outside the country, and will also speed up the management of care if the result is positive. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for its collaboration and assistance in emergencies and logistical, preventive, and technical support,” said Dr. Joselyn Chacón, Minister of Health.

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