Monkeypox virus can be shed into the surrounding environment by people who are infected, particularly in shed skin particles and in debris from monkeypox skin lesions and scabs. The virus is relatively hardy and under appropriate conditions can remain infectious on surfaces for weeks, creating a potential infection risk to others.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) recommends that patients with monkeypox who have severe disease requiring hospital admission are cared for in isolation rooms, with infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions that aim to contain potentially infectious virus within the room and protect staff who enter. However, to date it has been unclear whether these measures are proportionate to the potential virus exposure risks.
To investigate this, researchers from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Medicine and the UKHSA conducted a study which collected samples from the rooms of patients hospitalized with monkeypox. The findings have been published in The Lancet Microbe.