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What you need to know about getting tested for monkeypox in metro Atlanta

There is confusion around how to acquire a test.

ATLANTA — With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting the number of monkeypox cases in Georgia reached 625 on Tuesday, many are wondering where they can go to get a monkeypox test.

Nancy Nydam, a spokesperson with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), told 11Alive that local health departments are providing testing across the state. Those seeking testing should contact the public health district office in their area for more information on scheduling both testing and vaccination appointments.

A spokesperson with the Fulton County Department of Public Health said that it offers monkeypox testing at 10 Park Place South in Atlanta from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The DeKalb County Board of Health told 11Alive that monkeypox testing is not a walk-in process at their facility due to limited number of available tests. It added that if someone has symptoms of monkeypox, they should see their primary care physician or health care provider for testing.

Nydam added that DPH is working with all healthcare providers and hospitals to encourage them to provide monkeypox testing.

What are hospitals doing?

11Alive reached out to WellStar, Piedmont, Northside and Emory hospitals to see what their testing procedures were. 

A Northside Hospital spokesperson said the hospital will see patients that are presenting symptoms, but do not offer routine testing. 11Alive has not heard back from Piedmont, WellStar or Emory.

How to test for monkeypox

When it comes to getting a monkeypox test, there has been confusion on what specific symptoms are required in order to be tested and how the test may be administered.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, people are advised to use swab samples taken directly from a lesion (rash or growth) when getting tested for monkeypox. 

Testing for monkeypox is not like testing for COVID-19, according to the FDA. Health officials say they are not aware of clinical data supporting the use of other sample types, such as blood or saliva, for monkeypox virus testing, and that testing samples not taken from a lesion may lead to false results.

There are now 8,934 confirmed cases of monkeypox nationwide, according to the CDC.

More Public Health District information:

Fulton County Board of Health: 404-613-1205 

Clayton County Health District: 678-610-7199 

East Metro Health District:  770-339-4260 

DeKalb County Board of Health: 404-294-3700 

Cobb & Douglas Public Health: 770-514-2300

North Health District: 770-535-5743

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