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Common Household Items Can Carry Monkeypox, CDC: What You Should Know

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in 76 countries, including 18,800 in 70 countries where monkeypox has not previously been reported.

A new CDC study indicates that the monkeypox virus can linger on many common household objects. Still, it is not clear whether that can spread the infection [1].

Household Items Can Carry Monkeypox: What You Should Know

The study was based on two people who tested positive for monkeypox in the same house and reported disinfecting surfaces, washing their hands frequently, and taking regular showers. According to the study, both patients suffered from monkeypox in May. One was affected with lesions on the genitals, hands, chest, lips and scalp, while the other had lesions on the foot, leg and finger.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 70 per cent of high-contact areas were infected with the virus 20 days after symptoms first appeared, including couches, blankets, coffee machines, computers, and light switches [2].

The risk of infection is low

No live virus was found on any items or surfaces, suggesting a low risk of spreading infections. In addition, according to the CDC, the cleaning and disinfection practices may have prevented the home from becoming contaminated [3].

It is also possible for the virus to spread through bodily fluids or objects used by an infected individual. Still, it is unclear how much surface contamination contributes to the indirect transmission of the virus [4].

Precaution is necessary

While visiting a home where someone has monkeypox, visitors should still wear a well-fitting mask, avoid potentially contaminated surfaces, maintain appropriate hand hygiene, avoid sharing eating utensils, clothing, bedding, or towels, and follow home disinfection recommendations, highlights the study [5].

Can Monkeypox Be Prevented?

According to the CDC, several measures can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus, and they are as follows [6]:

  • Avoid contact with animals that could harbour the virus.
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding that has been in contact with a sick animal.
  • Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
  • Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.
Story first published: Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 17:45 [IST]
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