Mpox Testing Basics

When to Get Tested

  • Currently, testing is only recommended if you have a rash consistent with mpox.
  • If you think you have mpox or have had close personal contact with someone who has mpox, consider taking precautions and visit a healthcare provider to help you decide if you need to be tested for mpox.

Where to Get Tested

  • Only a healthcare provider can order an mpox test. The healthcare provider may take a specimen and send it to a lab for testing or they may send you to a lab for both specimen collection and testing.
  • Contact your local health department with any questions and to find out what the testing options are for your community.

What to Expect When You Get Tested

  • You will likely need to fill out paperwork before you get tested.
  • To get a specimen to test, the healthcare provider will use a swab to rub vigorously across lesions of your rash. They will take swabs from more than one lesion.
  • This swabbing may be uncomfortable but is necessary to get enough material to detect the mpox virus from the specimens.
  • The specimens will be tested in a lab to see if the mpox virus is detected.
  • Results are usually available within a few days.
  • While you are waiting for your results, take precautions to avoid getting or spreading mpox virus to others.

What Your Results Mean

  • If your test result is positive, take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others until you have completely recovered from your infection.
  • If your test result is negative: a negative test result means the test did not detect the virus and you probably do not have mpox. Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others.
  • If your test result is inconclusive: that means that your test will need to be conducted again because not enough of the specimen was taken.

Paying for Testing

The cost of mpox testing depends on where you get it.

  • Tests conducted by public health departments are usually free.
  • Testing referrals from a private healthcare provider to a commercial lab or tests done in the hospital may involve a fee.
  • For information on testing options in your community contact your local health department.