IDHW: Monkeypox sample handling error leads to false positive, false negative results

Posted at 11:27 AM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 13:30:10-04

A monkeypox sample handling error resulted in one false positive result and one false negative, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare officials announced Tuesday.

Monkeypox testing was temporarily suspended August 1 after the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories discovered a "critical sample handling error" that lead to one false positive and one false negative test result, according to a news release from the IDHW. Both impacted patients have been contacted and their contacts are being notified, IDHW announced.

Southwest District Health officials announced a previously confirmed case of monkeypox in Canyon County was due to the laboratory error and there are no monkeypox cases in the health district's jurisdiction.

"We are confident this was a one-time event, and we have implemented corrective actions to ensure an error like this does not happen again”, said Idaho Bureau of Laboratories Chief Dr. Christopher Ball. “We remain committed to providing Idahoans accurate and timely information as we respond to this new outbreak. We sincerely apologize to all those who were impacted by this unfortunate situation."

The testing was temporarily suspended Monday while the lab did a full-scale investigation and determined the source of the error, according to the release. Testing for monkeypox has resumed at the Bureau of Laboratories.