Can Monkeypox survive on surfaces? This is what we know

  • A new CDC report reveals new findings about how monkeypox can be detected on common household surfaces.
  • A team in Utah found that monkeypox was found on 70% of the surfaces tested.
  • However, that virus could not be cultured, which means it may not be a risk of causing an infection.

A new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research examined household surfaces in the home of two people infected with monkeypox (MPV).

Using PCR tests, the agency found that more than 70% of the surfaces it tested were contaminated with the virus.

However, none of the detected viruses could be cultivated.

Two travel-associated cases of monkeypox confirmed by real-time PCR were reported to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (UDHHS) by the Salt Lake County Health Department.

The two infected people lived together with no other housemates and had isolated at home for 20 days before sampling was done.

both experienced symptom such as fatigue and body aches, eight days after the onset of symptoms.

UDHHS swabbed objects in the patients’ homes that they described as “high-touch” surfaces.

Residents also described the stringent home cleaning and disinfection activities they performed during their illness and where they spent a significant amount of time while sick.

Of 30 specimens, 21 (70 percent) tested positive, including those from porous items like cloth furniture and blankets. None of the specimens contained live virus.

“The inability to detect viable virus suggests that virus viability may have decayed over time or through chemical or environmental inactivation.” wrote Jack A PfeifferPhD, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service, along with other CDC co-authors.

See also  African officials: Spread of monkeypox is already an emergency

dr Eric Cioè-Peñadirector of global health at Northwell Health in New York, told Healthline that the implication of these findings is “unclear.”

“But certainly [is] cause for concern and greater cleaning between homes where there is isolation of a positive case, “he said.

Peña stressed that it is prudent to limit contact to common spaces during the three to four weeks that people are infectious.

Peña does not believe that this information means that widespread disinfection of surfaces is needed to control the outbreak.

“I don’t think this should translate into more disinfection of public spaces because we haven’t seen monkeypox spread through casual contact,” he said. “Which indicates that this is not a sufficient virus, or a live virus, to cause transmission.”

She added that it’s important that we distinguish between creating a concern that doesn’t exist, “I could get monkeypox on the subway,” versus the real concern, “My partner doesn’t need to have a noticeable rash, and intimate contact up to and including sex can transmit this virus.”

Peña said he thinks the findings don’t change anything about the current MPV outbreak.

“I think it shows that the monkeypox virus contaminates surfaces in homes where people share spaces,” he said. “Whether this can lead to infections is still up for debate.”

Peña said this is because the virus has to be “viable or alive” to be transmitted and in sufficient quantity to cause infection.

“The rate of transmission among household members is still below 10% if those household members do not have intimate contact,” Peña said.

See also  Gourmet Pet Bakery in Cos Cob offers artisan treats, cakes and "Pawty" piñatas

the CDC precautions that MPV is spread primarily through close, personal, “often skin-to-skin” contact with an infected person’s rash, scabs, sores, bodily fluids, or respiratory secretions.

They add that transmission is also possible through contaminated objects or surfaces.

Appropriate precautions to take if living in or visiting the home of an infected person include wearing a well-fitting mask and:

  • Avoid touching possibly contaminated surfaces
  • Maintain proper hand hygiene
  • Avoid sharing eating utensils, clothing, bedding, or towels.
  • Follow home disinfection recommendations

New CDC research finds that even with proper surface cleaning and disinfection, the monkeypox virus can still be detected on most surfaces. However, the researchers also said that the virus they detected was dead and could not reproduce when grown in culture.

Experts say this shouldn’t mean further disinfection of public spaces because there is no evidence yet that the disease spreads through casual contact.