Monkeypox and the need to focus on environmental hygiene


9th September 2022


We discuss a recent study published in Eurosurveillance, examining the contamination of hospital rooms used to care for patients with Monkeypox infection.

"The study highlights a need to focus on environmental hygiene during the management of Monkeypox in hospitals"

A new study published in Eurosurveillance from Germany examines contamination of hospital rooms used to care for patients with Monkeypox infection. The key message from this study is that widespread Monkeypox DNA contamination was identified on a range of hard surfaces and fabrics from the rooms that were tested, and viable virus was cultured from some of these surfaces. These findings highlight the need to focus on environmental hygiene during the management of Monkeypox in hospitals.

Related article: Monkeypox & household environmental surface survival

Where was the study undertaken?

The study was undertaken in two ensuite hospital rooms that were being used to care for patients with Monkeypox in Germany. A wide range of surfaces were sampled including:

  • Door handles

  • Chairs

  • Mobile phones

  • Mattresses

  • Pillow cases

Swabs were analysed for the presence of Monkeypox DNA and viable virus that could be cultured. A large number of the surfaces that were tested were contaminated with Monkeypox DNA, to a greater or less degree.

Bed in hospital ward

Interestingly, all surfaces directly touched by patients were positive. Three of the surfaces were also contaminated with virus that could be cultured. Overall, 29/36 (80%) samples were contaminated in at least one of the two patient rooms tested, with a concertation of contamination ranging from <10 to 105 viral copies per cm2. The highest viral loads were found on cabinet door handles in one of the patient rooms, suggesting that frequently touched items (such as door handles and light switches) are commonly contaminated.

Related article: Monkeypox declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)

Monkeypox can be transferred to the hands of healthcare workers

One important finding was the gloved hands of the investigation were sampled after working in the room, and a high concentration of Monkeypox DNA was detected. Also, this sample contained viable virus that could be cultured. Whist there is uncertainty around the infective dose for Monkeypox, this shows that a viable dose of Monkeypox can be transferred from an environmental reservoir to the hands of healthcare workers.

Related article: Can Clinell products kill monkeypox virus?

Healthcare worker putting on gloves


The findings of this study suggest that contaminated surfaces play a role in the transmission of Monkeypox, and environmental hygiene should be an integral part of managing Monkeypox in hospitals. The authors conclude that surface disinfection using products with at least viricidal activity against enveloped viruses can reduce infectious virus on surfaces and thereby risk of nosocomial transmission.

If you'd like to know more about Clinell products and their efficacy against enveloped viruses, visit our Clinell Universal Range page. Help spread the word about Monkeypox virus by sharing this article on social media.

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