Aug. 22, 2022 -- The monkeypox virus can linger on household items but it’s not clear if the virus can spread that way, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Two people who lived together in Utah tested positive for monkeypox in May, the CDC said. They showered twice daily, wiped down surfaces, washed their hands about 10 times a day, and took other precautions.

About 20 days after they began isolating, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services came to their house and took samples from 30 objects in nine areas of the house, the CDC said. 

Twenty-one samples provided positive real-time polymerase chain reaction results. The positive samples came from porous and non-porous surfaces including a coffee machine, blankets, a computer mouse, light switches, and chairs.

Researchers were unable to grow live monkeypox virus in the lab using the samples, reported the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.  

"The epidemiologic data we have so far in this outbreak support that people are not contracting monkeypox through touching contaminated surfaces,” said Michael Osterholm, CIDRAP director. “The preponderance of data indicates it's being transmitted through direct physical contact, whether sexual or non-sexual."

The CDC said cleaning and disinfection practices “might have limited the level of contamination within the household.” Other studies are needed to determine if monkeypox can be indirectly transmitted through surface contamination, the CDC says.

People living in a home with somebody infected with monkeypox or visiting such a home should wear a well-fitted mask, avoid touching surfaces, wash hands, and avoid sharing eating utensils, clothing, bedding, or towels, the CDC says.

As of Monday, there have been 14,115 confirmed cases in the United States and 41,358 confirmed cases globally, the CDC says. No monkeypox-related deaths have been reported.

Monkeypox is a smallpox-like disease was first found in humans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970 and has become more common in West and Central Africa. Most recently, it began spreading to European and other Western nations in May 2022.

Show Sources

CDC: “High-Contact Object and Surface Contamination in a Household of Persons with Monkeypox Virus Infection”


CIDRAP: “Evidence of monkeypox virus found on household surfaces”


CDC: “2022 Outbreak Cases & Data”

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