The MONKEYPOX virus can stubbornly stick to surfaces touched by an infected person, according to a study.
The potentially fatal disease can attach itself to household items in a patient’s home even after extensive cleaning, but there is no evidence that you can pick up smallpox yourself after touching infected items.
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 examined a home in Utah where two monkeypox patients lived alongside other uninfected people.
Researchers took 30 household items from nine different parts of the home while both patients were still symptomatic and therefore actively spreading their infection.
The scientists tested two types of objects: they labeled soft surfaces that could absorb liquids such as clothing or furniture “porous,” and hard surfaces such as handles and switches “non-porous.”
Both types of items were discovered to contain monkey pox even after cleaning and disinfecting.
All three “porous” surfaces tested positive, while 17 of the 25 “non-porous” objects showed traces of the virus.
Only one item – oven knobs – was negative and the rest of the samples were inconclusive.
But despite the monkey pox evidence on these household items, 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 household members picked up the disease, so scientists aren’t sure how much risk this discovery poses to others sharing a room with monkeypox patients.
The virus is mainly spread through physical contact, which means that you are most likely to get monkey pox if you touch someone directly.
While the evidence that the bug sticks to household objects sounds disturbing, the discovery may not pose a threat if the virus doesn’t survive on these surfaces long enough to be transmitted to other people.
The CDC report read: “Monkeypox virus DNA was detected from many objects and sampled surfaces, indicating that some level of contamination occurred in the domestic environment.
“The inability to detect viable virus suggests that virus viability has decreased over time or through chemical or environmental inactivation.”
It added: “Their cleaning and disinfection practices during this time may have limited the level of contamination within the household.”
Hopefully the scientific research will help control the spread of monkeypox around the world.
There are 13,517 cases in the US, with California and New York having the most.
At the moment there are about 20 cases of the bug being picked up every day in the UK, up from 35 a week ago.
According to the latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), there are 3,081 confirmed cases in the UK – with a further 114 highly likely infections.
Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at greater risk of contracting monkeypox.
dr. William Welfare, Incident Director at UKHSA, said: “While the most recent data suggests that the outbreak’s growth has slowed, we continue to see new cases every day.
“While anyone can get monkey pox, most cases of monkey pox in the UK are still in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, with the infection mainly being transmitted through close contact in interconnected sexual networks.
“Please keep up to date with symptoms, including rashes and blisters, especially if you’ve recently had a new sexual partner.”
While there is a vaccine that protects against monkeypox, the push for vaccines to target those most susceptible to the diseases has been delayed due to shortages.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the growing cases a public health emergency, with shots being rolled out to those most at risk.
But the company that makes the vaccines has now warned that demand continues to rise.
Drug manufacturers Bavarian Nordic manufacture the Jynneos shot.
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