Monkeypox virus can remain on surfaces touched by infected person, study finds

MONKEYPOX virus can stubbornly stick to surfaces touched by an infected person, according to a study.

The potentially fatal disease can stick to household items in a patient’s home even after thorough cleaning, but there is no evidence that you can catch smallpox yourself after touching infected items.


Both hard and soft surfaces showed traces of monkey poxCredit: Getty

Most of the samples in the experiment – 21 out of 30 – tested positive for the virus after coming into contact with infected people, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The experiment investigated a house in Utah where two monkeypox patients lived next to other uninfected people.

The researchers searched 30 household items from nine different areas of the house while the two patients were still symptomatic and therefore actively spreading their infection.

The scientists tested two types of objects: labeling soft surfaces that could absorb liquids such as “porous” clothing or furniture, and “non-porous” hard surfaces such as handles and switches.

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Both types of object were found to carry monkeypox even after cleaning and disinfection.

All three “porous” surfaces tested positive, while 17 of the 25 “non-porous” items had traces of the virus.

Only one item, the oven knobs, was negative and the rest of the samples were inconclusive.

But despite the evidence of monkeypox in these household items, not a single sample was culture-positive for the virus, meaning the disease was not “alive” and could not infect other people.

None of the other members of the household contracted the disease, so scientists are unsure of the risk this discovery poses to others who share a space with monkeypox patients.

The virus is mainly spread by physical contact, meaning you are more likely to get monkey pox if you directly touch another person.

While evidence of the bug attaching itself to household objects seems disturbing, the discovery may not pose a threat if the virus does not survive long enough on those surfaces to spread to others.

The CDC report stated, “Monkeypox virus DNA was detected from many objects and surfaces sampled, indicating that some level of contamination occurred in the domestic environment.

“The inability to detect viable virus suggests that virus viability may have deteriorated over time or by chemical or environmental inactivation.”

He added: “Their cleaning and disinfection practices during this period could have limited the level of contamination in the home.”

Hopefully scientific research will help control the spread of monkey pox around the world.

In the US there are 13,517 cases, with California and New York having the most.

There are currently around 20 cases of the bug being detected each day in the UK, down from 35 a week ago.

The latest figures from the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) state that there are 3,081 confirmed cases in the UK, with 114 more likely infections.

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men have a higher risk of contracting monkeypox.

Dr William Welfare, director of outbreaks at UKHSA, said: “Although the most recent data suggests that the growth of the outbreak has slowed, we continue to see new cases every day.

“Although anyone can get monkeypox, most cases of monkeypox in the UK continue to be in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and the infection is mainly spread through close contact in interconnected sexual networks.

“Please continue to pay attention to symptoms such as rashes and blisters, especially if you have recently had a new sexual partner.”

Although there is a vaccine that protects against monkeypox, the shortage of vaccines to target those most susceptible to the disease has slowed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the rising cases a public health emergency, and targeted those most at risk.

But the company that makes the vaccines has now warned that demand continues to rise.

Bavarian Nordic drug makers make the Jynneos shot.

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