The monkeypox virus can remain on surfaces touched by an infected person

Objects that a monkeypox-positive person interacts with may have virus particles lingering on them, but experts aren’t sure if they can transmit the virus itself.

A report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that items in a Utah household where two people who tested positive lived carried the virus, even after thorough cleaning.

Items that have had traces of the virus include “porous items” such as clothing and furniture, and “non-porous” surfaces such as doorknobs and keys, as the CDC describes them. No surface of either type tested positive for virus culture – meaning that another person who touched the surface would not be infected.

This report opens up more new questions that it resolves. The virus, which spreads primarily through touch, remaining on surfaces can be worrisome. If it does not survive long enough to be transmitted on these surfaces, it may mean that inorganic objects cannot transmit the virus.

CDC researchers found that porous items such as clothing and blankets carry the virus after being touched by an infected person (file photo)

The CDC report is based on a household in which at least two patients, named A and B, came into contact with the virus.

Although there were others living in the house, no one else reported a positive case of monkeypox.

Both patients were described as having relatively small lesions and mild symptoms.

House members reported cleaning and disinfecting areas of the house where the infected spent time.

Patient A was symptomatic for 30 days, while patient B was symptomatic for about 22 days.

Although both patients were still symptomatic—meaning they were still actively shedding the infection on things they touched—the researchers took swabs from 30 household items from nine different parts of the home.

The samples were tested by the CDC for traces of the virus. A total of 21 of the 30 tested positive.

All three “porous surfaces” — cloth-like surfaces that can absorb liquid — tested positive for the samples.

Out of 25 samples of non-porous objects, traces of the virus were found in 17. Only one item, the oven knobs, was negative, while others were inconclusive.

While the virus was detected, the fact that it was not alive means that others who interacted with the surfaces may not have been at risk of contracting the virus.

“Monkeypox virus DNA was found in many objects and surfaces sampled, indicating that there was some level of contamination in the home environment,” the researchers wrote in the report.

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

It may also indicate that regular disinfection and cleaning practices by infected members and others in the household have been successful.

“Their cleaning and disinfection practices during this period may have limited the level of contamination in the household,” they wrote.

Although the CDC still isn’t sure exactly how monkeypox is spread through contaminated objects — if it is spread at all — the virus is starting to spread out of control.

The United States had 14,115 confirmed cases of monkeypox as of Friday morning, the most of any nation in the world by a significant margin.

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