Monkeypox virus lingers on surfaces touched by an infected person, study finds

Monkeypox virus lingers on surfaces touched by an infected person, study finds

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

The potentially deadly disease can cling to household items in a patient’s home even after extensive cleaning – but there is no evidence you could pick up the pox yourself after touching infected objects.


Both hard and soft surfaces showed traces of monkeypoxCredit: Getty

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

The experiment investigated a home in Utah where two monkeypox patients lived alongside other uninfected people.

Investigators swabbed 30 household items from nine different areas of the house, while both patients were still symptomatic and therefore actively spreading their infection.

The scientists tested two types of object – labelling soft surfaces which could soak up liquid like clothing or furniture “porous”, and hard surfaces like handles and switches “non-porous”.

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Both types of object were discovered to be carrying monkeypox even after cleaning and disinfectant.

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

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

But despite evidence of the monkeypox on these household objects, not a single sample was positive for virus culture – meaning the disease wasn’t “live” and couldn’t infect other people.

None of the other members of the household picked up the disease, so scientists are unsure how much of a risk this discovery poses to others sharing a space with monkeypox patients.

The virus is mainly spread by physical contact, meaning you are most likely to catch monkeypox if you directly touch another person.

Although the evidence of the bug sticking to household objects sounds unsettling, the discovery might not pose a threat if the virus doesn’t survive long enough on these surfaces to transmit to other people.

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

“The inability to detect viable virus suggests that virus viability might have decayed over time or through chemical or environmental inactivation.”

It added: “Their cleaning and disinfection practices during this period might have limited the level of contamination within the household.”

Hopefully the scientific research will help to control the spread of monkeypox across the world.

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

At present there are around 20 cases of the bug being picked up each day in the UK, down from 35 a week ago.

The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) states that there are 3,081 confirmed cases in the UK – with a further 114 highly probably infections.

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are at higher risk of becoming infected with monkeypox.

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

“While anyone can get monkeypox, the majority of monkeypox cases in the UK continue to be in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, with the infection being passed on mainly through close contact in interconnected sexual networks.

“Please continue to be aware of symptoms, including rashes and blisters, particularly if you have recently had a new sexual partner.”

While there is a vaccine protecting against monkeypox, a vaccine drive to jab those most susceptible to the illnesses has been slowed due to shortages.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the growing cases a public health emergency, with jabs being rolled out to those most at risk.

But the company that manufacturers the vaccines has now warned that the demand keeps on rising.

Drug makers Bavarian Nordic manufacture the Jynneos shot.

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