WITH monkeypox cases continuing to spread, many are wondering if – like with other viruses – it’s possible to pick up the infection from touching contaminated objects or surfaces.
The Center for Disease Control in the US, has said you can catch monkeypox by touching an object which has come into contact with an infected person.
The virus is most commonly being spread through sexual contact, but is not a sexually transmitted disease
However, experts have said risk of transmission through surfaces is very low.
Jonathan Ball, professor of medical virology, told The Sun that monkeypox needs “close contact” to spread.
The scientist, from Nottingham University, said that the virus “usually” spreads through direct contact with another person.
“It can also spread through contact with objects that have been close to someone infected for a long time such as clothing and bedding,” Prof Ball explained.
However, “simply touching an object that has also been touched by someone infected, say a handrail or doorknob is very low risk,” he added.
Is monkeypox airborne?
A recent study, published in the Lancet, found that the virus spreads mostly through the lesions and spots caused by monkeypox and not through water droplets made when someone coughs or sneezes.
This suggests the virus is not particularly airborne – unlike Covid which spreads when a person with the virus coughs near someone or onto an object.
Britain had recorded 2,914 cases of monkeypox by this Tuesday, while the US has reported 10,392.
Worldwide there have been about 30,000 cases and nine deaths.
The virus is most commonly being spread through sexual contact, but is not a sexually transmitted disease.
How do I keep myself safe?
Alex Sparrowhawk, health promotion specialist at the sexual health charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, said the best way to avoid catching is for you and your partner check for rashes.
“It’s also worth making sure you both feel okay generally, monkeypox can also appear as flu or Covid,” Alex, told The Sun.
If you are living with someone who has the virus its also worth washing towels and bedding regularly, he added.
Last week, both politicians and LGBT+ groups demanded the government increase its efforts to help curb the spread.
Vaccines have already been rolled out in some parts, but the group has said this now must become a priority.
In a letter penned to health secretary Steve Barclay, the group said: “We cannot afford to allow monkeypox to become endemic in the UK.
“Luckily, we have the tools required to stop this outbreak and prevent further risk to health now. We ask that you do so urgently.”
Signed by the LGBT+ groups for Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Scottish National Party, along with sexual health charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust, the group said communication on the outbreak is key.
The Terrence Higgins Trust said urgent political action is needed to get hold of the rise in cases.
Vaccination experts have recommended that gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox be offered the smallpox vaccine Imvanex.
In recent weeks, scientists have said new skin symptoms have been identified.
What are the symptoms?
Typical signs of the illness usually include a fever – along with swelling of the lymph nodes.
But a new review of 185 cases published in the British Journal of Dermatology has found otherwise.
Medics have now stated that the most common signs of this outbreak are rare pseudo-pustules.
These are similar in appearance to pustules, with the main difference being that they are white and solid.
With standard pustules, most of the time you can scrape away the top layer of the lesion, in order to get to the pus.