The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that is related to the variola virus, which causes smallpox. The monkeypox virus causes relatively rare infections in humans. In 2022, countries that don’t normally have mpox (monkeypox) cases, including the United States, began to experience outbreaks. As a result of the mpox outbreak, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) declared a public health emergency that was in effect from August 4, 2022, through January 31, 2023.
Since the initial outbreak of mpox in 2022, ARUP has actively participated in the formulation of an appropriate national response in partnership with the CDC and other laboratories.
ARUP has validated an in-house test, Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR (3005716) that is now available to order.
Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR is a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to detect the DNA of orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox virus. ARUP’s test is based on the CDC assay but has been optimized for state-of-the-art instrumentation and is validated for an automated specimen extraction process. These optimizations will allow for reduced turnaround times and increased capability to upscale testing capacity.
Please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below for more details. This page will be updated regularly as new details become available.
Updated: July 18, 2023
ARUP’s In-House Test for Mpox Infection
Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus. ARUP’s test will detect orthopoxvirus DNA, which includes monkeypox virus.
Testing that detects orthopoxvirus DNA is sufficient to meet the case definition of probable mpox infection in the United States, per the CDC, given the absence of any other orthopoxviruses in circulation.1
Yes. ARUP’s test, Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR, is performed in-house.
ARUP’s laboratory-developed test (LDT) is validated for an automated specimen extraction method and can be performed on higher-throughput instruments to optimize workflow efficiency, decrease turnaround times, and enable rapid scaling of testing capacity if needed.
ARUP’s test is also a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, based on the same assay principles as the CDC's U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared test. As ARUP's test is optimized for modern instrumentation and automated processes, it is classified as a laboratory-developed test (LDT). This optimization allows for rapid scaling of testing capacity, if needed, and reduced turnaround times.
Our test is a laboratory-developed test (LDT). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared enforcement discretion and will not require LDTs for monkeypox virus to be submitted to the FDA.
ARUP’s test, Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR, is New York approved.
ARUP’s test is not affected.
On Friday, September 2, 2022, the CDC released a laboratory alert regarding rare false-negative results for monkeypox virus that were obtained when using assays with the CDC's published primers and probes.
ARUP’s test, Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR, is designed to detect an essential viral gene and will detect members of the Orthopoxvirus genus, including monkeypox virus and vaccinia virus. Due to the initial assay design and the targets selected, ARUP’s assay is not affected by this CDC alert.
For pricing, please contact ARUP Client Services.
The CPT code is 87593.
Effective July 26, 2022, the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Editorial Panel approved this new CPT code to use specifically for orthopoxvirus (monkeypox virus) detection to improve reporting in cases of suspected or confirmed mpox.
No, per guidance from the CDC for laboratory-developed tests (LDTs), our test will not require confirmation testing.
Yes, ARUP clients can build this test into their interface. Please refer to the following document for test-build specifications: TD Test Mix Excel Sheet.
Refer to the following information for specimen requirements or review the LTD entry:
Swab the lesion vigorously to collect adequate DNA. It is not necessary to deroof the lesion before swabbing.
Place the lesion swab in viral transport media (ARUP supply #12884), available online through eSupply, or contact ARUP Client Services at 800-522-2787.
|Unacceptable Conditions||Calcium alginate swab, wooden swab. Specimens without swabs.|
|Specimen Stability||Ambient: 24 hours; refrigerated: 7 days; frozen: 1 month|
Refer to the Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR Specimen Collection and Shipping Instructions as a reference.
Please collect specimens using a swab placed in viral transport media (VTM), which is ARUP Supply #12884. You can order these swabs online through ARUP eSupply.
Yes, the following media types are acceptable for ARUP’s Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR test: M4, M4-RT, M5, M5-RT, M6, UTM, BD Universal Transport Media (UVT), BD Liquid Amies Elution Swab (eSwab), Cellmatics Viral Transport Pack, ChlamTrans Transport Media, Bartels ViraTrans Transport Media, Bartels FlexTrans Transport Media, Hardy Diagnostic Media CVM and VCM, Meridian Viral Transport Media, Starplex Multitrans System, and Saline.
Yes, the specimen source and media type are required for all monkeypox virus testing to ensure that tests are performed on validated specimen and media and for the purpose of public health reporting. Please provide the specimen source and media type for each order.
Yes, per CDC guidance, specimens can be shipped as UN 3373 Biological Substance, Category B. Please refer to the details below.
When orthopoxvirus DNA is detected in a patient specimen, an ARUP representative will call our client labs to report the result as an “alert value.” Results will also be available on ARUP Connect or on our client’s interface.
This assay does not differentiate members of the orthopoxviruses. In the United States, a detected result is most likely due to monkeypox virus or vaccinia virus. Other orthopoxviruses may be considered if appropriate.
According to the CDC, “Once results are received from the laboratory, a positive orthopoxvirus test is considered to meet the case definition for probable monkeypox virus infection since there are no other circulating orthopoxviruses within the United States that cause systemic disease. Clinical care and prevention precautions should begin based on the orthopoxvirus test result and should not wait for any additional viral characterization testing that may be performed.”1 Refer to the CDC if additional confirmatory testing is needed.
This test was developed and its performance characteristics were determined by ARUP Laboratories. It has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This test was performed in a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory and is intended for clinical purposes.
The performing lab will provide public health reporting. ARUP will report as required by state laws and regulations; this meets our reporting requirements as the performing laboratory. This does not cover reporting that may or may not be required by other healthcare providers. ARUP does not maintain a list of reporting requirements for providers, so we are unable to provide guidance on provider/client reporting.
Yes. To meet public health reporting regulations, ensure an appropriate response to this evolving public health emergency, and limit the spread within your community, please submit the Patient Demographics Form for Public Health Reporting with all Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR test specimens.
If you do not submit the Patient Demographics Form for Public Health Reporting, please transmit complete demographic information with each order, including the patient’s name, another unique identifier such as medical record number (MRN), address, date of birth, sex, race, and ethnicity.
ARUP continues to perform other testing to support the care of patients with suspected or confirmed mpox infection, including tests for sexually transmitted infections and other diseases, to help provide a differential diagnosis in individuals with suspected or confirmed mpox infection.
Other infections can present with lesions similar to mpox. Consider 2010095 Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1/HSV-2) Subtype by PCR, 0060042 Varicella-Zoster Virus by PCR, and 0050920 Treponema pallidum Antibody, IgG by ELISA as alternative tests.
According to the CDC, “Culture-based testing for mpox virus should not be performed as a routine diagnostic procedure in clinical or diagnostic laboratories.”2 Monkeypox virus cannot be definitively identified by viral culture and should not be used to diagnose mpox. Instead, clients should order Orthopoxvirus (includes monkeypox virus) by PCR.
Yes, per CDC guidance, specimens can be shipped as UN 3373 Biological Substance, Category B.
Please refer to our Specimen Transport Guide for more details on Category B shipping.
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update for clinicians on testing and treatment for monkeypox. [Updated; Jul 28, 2022; Accessed: Jul 18, 2023]
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Biosafety laboratory guidance for handling and processing mpox specimens. [Last reviewed: Dec 6, 2022; Accessed: Jul 18, 2023]