Monkeypox virus: Surface contamination detected
In recent weeks, the number of monkeypox virus infections has rapidly increased on at least four continents. Researchers have now also detected the pathogen on surfaces that have been touched by infected people. But is it possible to be infected by contaminated objects?
A study by researchers in Hamburg has shown that surfaces that monkeypox patients have touched can be heavily contaminated with the virus. However, the study has not yet proven that other people can become infected through contact with the contaminated surfaces. The results of the study have been published in the specialist journal "Eurosurveillance".
Up to ten million virus components
“We assume that the surfaces would have to be very heavily contaminated in order to be able to become infected through contact with these surfaces,” explains Prof. Dr. Johannes Knobloch, head of the study and the department of hospital hygiene at the University Hospital Hamburg- Eppendorf (UKE), in a statement.
According to the scientist, this probably mainly concerns people who take care of affected patients and people who live with sick people. “According to current knowledge, publicly accessible hand contact surfaces such as door handles or elevator buttons do not present any danger,” says the expert.
The researchers were able to detect up to a million viral compounds on surfaces that came into direct contact with the skin of the sick or that the sick patients touched with their hands, and even up to ten million in contaminated laundry.
They were also able to find the slightest traces of the virus outside the rooms occupied by the patients.
Respect the recommended protective measures
Additionally, scientists have successfully grown monkeypox viruses from surfaces for the first time – but only from the most heavily contaminated surfaces.
As stated in the communication, these data indicate that PCR detections are not only for inactivated viral components, but that at least a proportion of the measured load contains intact virus.
Virus culture from inanimate surfaces is an important component in understanding monkeypox virus transmission routes.
"Our results are consistent with previous observations that in most cases people can only become infected if they come into very close contact with a sick person," says Professor Knobloch.
According to the researcher, the results of the study also show that medical personnel must strictly observe the recommended protective measures when caring for affected patients. (ad)
Author and source informationShow now
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Sources:University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf: UKE scientists demonstrate contamination of surfaces with monkeypox virus, (Accessed: July 2, 2022), University Hospital Hamburg-EppendorfD. Nörz, S. Pfefferle et al. : Evidence of surface contamination in hospital rooms occupied by patients infected with monkeypox; in: Eurosurveillance, (published in Volume 27, Number 26, 30/06/2022), Eurosurveillance
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.