Clinical Testing

Laboratory robot holding a well plate containing patients’ samples for antibody testing, using the CDC serologic test.

Available Tests

  • Mpox is diagnosed using real time PCR tests. These tests are available through your local, state, territorial or tribal health department and many large commercial laboratories.
  • Clinicians with specimens that are suspected to contain monkeypox virus could contact their state or territorial public health department for information on testing options.
  • Results are usually available in 2-4 days.
  • Clinicians should collect two swabs from each lesion (generally from 2-3 lesions) in case additional testing, such as clade-specific testing, is needed for these patients.

Mpox Outbreaks

  • In addition to the ongoing global outbreak of mpox that began in 2022 caused by clade IIb of monkeypox virus, a large outbreak of mpox began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2023. This outbreak is caused by a different type of the virus, known as clade I, that can cause more people to have severe infections.
  • Clinicians should notify their state health department if they have a patient with mpox-like symptoms and recent travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
  • For patients with travel to DRC within 21 days of illness onset, CDC recommends that clinicians pursue clade-specific testing. Start with a consultation with state health departments for expedited testing options, such as molecular testing or genetic sequencing.


Specimen collection, storage, and shipping of human specimens are subject to Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) restrictions. Contact the laboratory testing facility to determine their specific requirements.

Refer to CDC’s Specimen Collection Guidelines for general instructions on collecting, handling and shipping specimens.

Before testing, review CDC’s Biosafety Laboratory Guidance for Handling and Processing Mpox Specimens for recommended laboratory procedures and biosafety guidelines when collecting, handling, and processing specimens.
Collect skin lesion material for initial laboratory testing. Once collected, these specimens can be tested at
While waiting for results, advise your patient to take precautions to avoid getting or spreading mpox to others.
To protect yourself and your staff, consult CDC’s guidance on Infection Prevention and Control of Mpox in Healthcare Settings.